England name unchanged team for World Cup opener against Fiji
Last Updated: 15/09/15 12:47am
Stuart Lancaster has named an unchanged starting XV for England's World Cup opener against Fiji on Friday.
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The head coach has kept faith with the team that defeated Ireland in their final warm-up game, with Courtney Lawes getting the nod ahead of Joe Launchbury in the second row.
Lawes partners Geoff Parling, who is a reassuring figure for hooker Tom Youngs at lineouts, while Ben Morgan is preferred to Billy Vunipola at No 8.
Jonny May and Anthony Watson are retained on the wings after their try-scoring exploits against Ireland, with George Ford and Ben Youngs continuing at half-back.
There is one change among the replacements, where Bath hooker Rob Webber replaces Jamie George.
Lancaster said: "The squad is massively excited to start the World Cup. Everyone has worked incredibly hard over the last three months and we are ready.
"Friday will be a great occasion for the whole squad and for the country. We are in a unique position to be playing in a World Cup on home soil and to have the support of a nation behind the team. That support will be a massive factor and we don't underestimate its importance.
"All the players have put their hand up in training and the internationals we have played this summer and we are blessed to have such a strong squad to select from against a skilful and powerful Fijian side."
Scrum-half Ben Youngs, one of seven survivors from the 2011 World Cup, will win his 50th cap on Friday.
"I'd like to congratulate Ben Youngs on his achievement," added Lancaster. "To win 50 caps for your country in such a relatively short period of time is testament to Ben's dedication and commitment."
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieran Brooks, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sam Burgess.
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