Rugby World Cup 2019: England make 10 changes for USA match
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 24/09/19 2:51pm
Eddie Jones has shuffled his side for England's second match of the World Cup against USA on Thursday, making 10 changes from the win over Tonga.
Head coach Jones has named captain Owen Farrell on the bench with George Ford set to take the armband in Kobe.
Ford, Elliot Daly, Tom Curry, Joe Marler and Billy Vunipola are the only players retained from Sunday's opening match victory.
Lewis Ludlam will make a first World Cup start at openside flanker, with Ruaridh McConnochie, Willi Heinz, Joe Cokanasiga, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Piers Francis also set for their first taste of World Cup rugby.
Heinz will start at scrum-half with Francis and Jonathan Joseph selected in the centres. Cokanasiga and McConnochie will play on the wings with Daly named at full-back.
Dan Cole is set to join Jonny Wilkinson as England's joint-third most-capped men's international player on 91 caps by featuring on Thursday. Ben Youngs, also on 90 caps, has been named among the replacements.
Meanwhile, Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell remain injury absentees and are not due to be ready until the third pool match against Argentina on Sunday.
"The four-day turnaround is something we experimented with against Japan last autumn and so the players have had some experience of it," Jones said.
"You have to make sure the two days before the game are exactly the same as you would normally have for any other game. So for us, a short and fast run tomorrow and today is an active recovery day. What I see now is players handling it really well but the game on Thursday will be the litmus test."
"It is our best 23 and we have looked at some players that would benefit not playing in this game so have kept them out of the 23. But it is a great opportunity for another set of players to do the team proud."
Jones added on England's opposition: "USA are a tough, physical team who are extremely well coached by Gary Gold. There are a number of players who our guys know really well and are a team we respect. They have prepared two weeks with the marines for this game so they will be fit, tough and be playing for the pride of their country."
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 George Ford (C) , 9 Willi Heinz ; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 George Kruis, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Anthony Watson.
Reporter's view - Gail Davis
Sky Sports News reporter Gail Davis gives her reaction to the England team selection from Japan.
It's a line-up against the USA that was largely expected (aside perhaps from Billy Vunipola backing up) but think back a year, or even six months ago and who could have predicted England would be starting their second game of the World Cup with Ruaridh McConnochie, Lewis Ludlum, Joe Cokanasiga and Willi Heinz in the team.
Eddie Jones certainly did not. He loves the fact they are on the journeys they have taken to get here and most importantly he trusts they can get the job done against the USA on Thursday.
Why? Because they have done it before.
Jones knew the challenge of a 1,000-mile four-day turnaround, the difficulty of recovery and having only one training session as preparation to get this team ready for the USA at the beginning of August. Had McConnochie been fit that day it would be just two changes from the starting team that beat a strong Wales side 33-19. That's what gives him the belief.
Jones used the Japan Test match last autumn to replicate this week. He had the team in camp late and gave them just one full training session. The first half of that game was sluggish, slow and uninspiring. After a rocket at half-time and changes to personnel England came out with the win.
Sometimes you get it right - Eddie admitted that selection against Wales was an experiment that paid off - and other times it goes wrong. That first half was down to poor mental rather than physical preparation and Jones said it will not be repeated.
He used that Japan game and the warmups to understand the players who have the capacity to go again. When he is in his stride why would not you let Billy Vunipola build up a head of speed so others like Sam Underhill perform better fresh.
So meticulous is his planning Jones and his coaches knew the first four starting teams before they were on the plane to Japan. They have had to tweak - Henry Slade was pencilled in but a bang to the knee against Tonga means he was not worth risking against the USA.