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England mix and match for final warm-up game against Italy

England mix and match for final warm-up game against Italy

Owen Farrell will captain England in their final World Cup warm-up match against Italy as Eddie Jones has opted to go with a ‘mix and match selection strategy’.

Ruaridh McConnochie will make his debut on the wing, joining Jonny May and Anthony Watson in the back three.

Joe Marchant will partner Piers Francis in the midfield despite not being part of England’s World Cup squad.

Fellow British & Irish Lions Dan Cole, Jamie George and Joe Marler all start in the front row while Courtney Lawes is named with Joe Launchbury as the lock pairing.

Jones said: “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.

“We are excited to be playing in Newcastle. We are playing at an iconic football ground and we know the area is an important one for rugby in the northern part of England. We are looking forward to seeing and playing in front of the fans.”

England starting XV v Italy

15. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)

14. Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby)

13. Joe Marchant (Harlequins)

12. Piers Francis (Northampton Saints)

11. Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)

10. Owen Farrell (Saracens) (c)

9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins)

2. Jamie George (Saracens)

3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)

4. Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)

6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

7. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks)

8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Replacements

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)

17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)

18. Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

19.Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)

20. Matt Kvesic (Exeter Chiefs)

21. Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby)

22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

23. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)

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