England Makes Strategic Changes in Starting XV for Semifinal Against South Africa

England Makes Strategic Changes in Starting XV for Semifinal Against South Africa

Ahead of the highly anticipated clash with South Africa at Stade de France on Saturday, 21 October, England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, has announced the match-day 23, unveiling three alterations to the starting XV that secured victory against Fiji in the quarter-finals.

The revised starting lineup includes the following changes:

  • Joe Marler and George Martin stepping in at loosehead prop and second-row, respectively, in place of Ellis Genge and Ollie Chessum, who move to the bench.
  • Freddie Steward making a return as full-back, replacing Marcus Smith, who has been excluded from the match-day 23 entirely.

The Starting XV comprises:

  1. Joe Marler
  2. Jamie George
  3. Dan Cole
  4. Maro Itoje
  5. George Martin
  6. Courtney Lawes
  7. Tom Curry
  8. Ben Earl
  9. Alex Mitchell
  10. Owen Farrell (c)
  11. Elliot Daly
  12. Manu Tuilagi
  13. Joe Marchant
  14. Jonny May
  15. Freddie Steward

The Replacements are:

  1. Theo Dan
  2. Ellis Genge
  3. Kyle Sinckler
  4. Ollie Chessum
  5. Billy Vunipola
  6. Danny Care
  7. George Ford
  8. Ollie Lawrence

Noteworthy insights about the team and key players:

  • Joe Marler is set to make his third start of the year, previously starting against South Africa in Cape Town back in 2018.
  • George Martin, a relative newcomer, earns his fourth start since his debut in 2021, with his last start occurring against Chile in Pool D.
  • Thirteen players from the RWC 2019 final are part of this match-day squad, with six of them being repeated starters in both instances.
  • Owen Farrell is poised to join Will Carling as the only England captain to lead the team in two Rugby World Cup semi-finals, marking his 99th start in his 111th test for England. His captaincy record against South Africa stands at two wins out of six matches, both secured in 2018.
  • Ben Earl has showcased exceptional performance statistics at RWC 2023, notably leading in minutes played, carries, tackles, and ruck involvements.
  • Maro Itoje’s remarkable track record against South Africa highlights his significant game time across tests for England and the British and Irish Lions, maintaining a notable streak of 16 consecutive matches playing the full 80 minutes.

With the stage set for a high-stakes encounter, both teams are gearing up for an electrifying battle to secure a spot in the Rugby World Cup final.

Mark Z

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