Lancaster to keep faith in settled side

England are poised to select the same team that beat Ireland last weekend in their Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji

From left; Ben Morgan, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson of England sing the national anthem against Ireland last weekend. Photo: JMP/REX Shutterstock

From left; Ben Morgan, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson of England sing the national anthem against Ireland last weekend. Photo: JMP/REX Shutterstock

England are poised to select the same side that beat Ireland last weekend in their Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji at Twickenham on Friday. Geoff Parling will continue at lock instead of Joe Launchbury and Tom Wood at blindside flanker ahead of James Haskell, with both having con¬tributed significantly to a much improved line out display in the 21-13 win.
Parling will call the line-outs as he did last weekend when England rectified some serious problems that had arisen in defeat in Paris against France the weekend before.
Fiji are ranked ninth in the world, so will present formidable opposition. England played their strongest starting line-up last weekend in the knowledge they would have to continue with it for the following three weekends, with Wales and Austra¬lia to come after Fiji and before their ¬final pool against Uruguay on Oct 10.
With the England management due to name their team tomorrow, Ben Morgan is thought to have done enough to keep his No 8 spot ahead of Billy ¬Vunipola, who will remain on the bench. The bench is also likely to ¬remain the same, with Sam Burgess as one of three backs alongside Richard Wigglesworth and Owen Farrell, although England will consider the versatility of both Alex Goode and Henry Slade in place of Burgess. The powerful impact of Burgess is likely to hold sway for Friday, but it might be different against Wales and Australia the fol¬lowing weekends when a different, more tactically-minded ¬approach might be required off the bench.
One possible change could be at ¬replacement hooker where Rob ¬Webber may replace Jamie George, if England decide they want ¬Webber’s greater bulk at the scrummage. England lost the first scrummage in which George was involved last weekend against Ireland.
England must deal with the pressure of playing at home – a point Stuart ¬Lancaster, the head coach, emphasised at a welcome event for the England team at Sandhurst yesterday. “We’ve got to get the balance right – it’s not ¬allowing the size of the event and the game itself to overcome all the technical stuff,” Lancaster said.
“There will be sessions twice a week on the importance of dealing with the pressure and sideshow that defines the game, because it’s going to be huge.”
One possible change could be at ¬replacement hooker where Rob ¬Webber may replace Jamie George, if England decide they want ¬Webber’s greater bulk at the scrummage. England lost the first scrummage in which George was involved last weekend against Ireland.

England coach Stuart Lancaster will start a settled side. Photo: Getty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster will start a settled side. Photo: Getty Images

England must deal with the pressure of playing at home – a point Stuart ¬Lancaster, the head coach, emphasised at a welcome event for the England team at Sandhurst yesterday. “We’ve got to get the balance right – it’s not ¬allowing the size of the event and the game itself to overcome all the technical stuff,” Lancaster said.
“There will be sessions twice a week on the importance of dealing with the pressure and sideshow that defines the game, because it’s going to be huge.”

  • The Guardian

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Filed under England, Fiji, Pool A, Rugby World Cup

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