Ford handed England chance

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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England have selected George Ford at fly-half and Owen Farrell at inside centre for Saturday’s QBE International against Samoa at Twickenham.

Ford will be making his first Test start after four appearances as a replacement, while Farrell survives another week despite a disappointing autumn so far that has raised concerns over his fitness.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has accommodated the two playmakers in his starting XV by moving Farrell to 12, the position he filled in the first two games of his international career in 2012 when he also partnered Brad Barritt in midfield.

Farrell and Ford played together for England at age group level and helped the Under-20s reach the final of the 2011 Junior World Championship.

“It’s great to give George a start in this series after he missed the summer tour through injury,” Lancaster said.

“George has been impressive in camp and is now fully up to speed with the game plan and is ready to run the game. Owen switches to 12 and I’m sure will support George well.”

England have made a total of six changes, one positional, to the side defeated 31-28 by South Africa last Saturday.

Ben Youngs comes in at scrum-half, replacing Danny Care who has been dropped following a collapse in form against New Zealand and South Africa.

Lancaster has overhauled his back row with James Haskell replacing Tom Wood at blindside flanker and Ben Morgan promoted from the bench to start at number eight. Captain Chris Robshaw is the only survivor in that department.

Wood must settle for a substitute’s role against Samoa and the final change sees hooker Rob Webber swap roles with Dylan Hartley, who drops to the bench after receiving a brainless yellow card against the Springboks.

“James Haskell and Ben Morgan have been in great form and I’m sure they will bring their physical presence to the game,” Lancaster said.

“Hooker is another competitive position and we believe Rob Webber is ready for the start and will continue the progress he made on the New Zealand tour.

“Those selected have a great opportunity to show what they can do against what will be a highly motivated Samoa team.”

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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