Home Rugby Marchant To Make First England Test Start Despite World Cup Omission

Marchant To Make First England Test Start Despite World Cup Omission

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: England's Joe Marchant comes on for his debut during the 2019 Quilter International match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on August 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

England centre Joe Marchant is set to make his first Test start in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Italy in Newcastle on Friday, despite not being included in the squad for the tournament.

Marchant has made two previous appearances for England from the bench, however, his inclusion raises questions as to the fitness of Jonathan Joseph, who withdrew from their victory over Ireland last month, as well as Henry Slade who is recovering from a knee injury.

The Harlequins player is partnered with Piers Francis at inside centre while debutant Ruaridh McConnochie is named on the right wing with Anthony Watson at fullback.

Dan Cole starts alongside Jamie George and Joe Marler in the front row with Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes named as the lock pairing. Mark Wilson will start at openside flanker with Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola making up the rest of the back row.

Ben Youngs is named alongside captain Owen Farrell in the half-backs.

Speaking to the England Rugby website, head coach Eddie Jones said they had decided on a “mix and match selection policy” for the game at St James’ Park.

“We are delighted to be playing against Italy, one of our traditional Six Nations rivals and the game for us is another important step to develop our game fitness and game strategy. We have gone with a mix and match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation.

“We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday night. Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan.”

Kick-off on Friday is 7.45pm and the game is live on Sky Sports.

England Team v Italy: 

15. Anthony Watson
14. Ruaridh McConnochie
13. Joe Marchant
12. Piers Francis
11. Jonny May
10. Owen Farrell
9. Ben Youngs

1. Joe Marler
2. Jamie George
3. Dan Cole
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Courtney Lawes
6. Tom Curry
7. Mark Wilson
8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie
17. Ellis Genge
18. Kyle Sinckler
19. Charlie Ewels
20 Matt Kvesic
21. Willi Heinz
22. George Ford
23. Joe Cokanasiga

 

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. She is a former reporter with Sporting Limerick and is a huge fan of the GAA. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter