Thu, Aug 20, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Lancaster shuffles England lineup for second warm-up

AFP, LONDON

Regular England captain Chris Robshaw was restored to the side announced on Tuesday for the World Cup hosts’ second warm-up match against France in Paris on Saturday.

The Harlequins flanker was one of 14 changes made by coach Stuart Lancaster to his starting side, with only try-scoring wing Jonny May retained from the 15 that ran out to defeat France 19-14 at Twickenham last weekend.

Robshaw is to form a back row alongside veterans James Haskell and Billy Vunipola.

It is the same loose forward trio that started the final match of last season’s Six Nations against France, with 12 of the 15 that won 55-35 at Twickenham five months ago — a result that was not enough for England to clinch the title — lining up in Paris.

There was no place in the match-day 23 for either former rugby league star Sam Burgess or fellow center Henry Slade, who both impressed on their Test debuts against France last weekend.

Instead, Lancaster has reverted back to his tried and trusted center partnership of Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph, leaving open the question of who is to provide midfield cover in a World Cup squad that must be named by Aug. 31.

Danny Cipriani and Billy Twelvetrees will look to stake their claims to those positions after being named on the bench for the Stade de France fixture, having had little chance to shine when making substitute appearances at Twickenham last week.

Meanwhile, Wasps lock Joe Launchbury is set to play his first international in 12 months after returning from injury, while for the first time there is also a place in the match-day 23 for Saracens hooker Jamie George.

“Having reviewed last Saturday, there were a lot of things we were pleased with considering it was the first game,” Lancaster said on Tuesday. “There is now an opportunity for those not involved or who didn’t get much opportunity from the bench to put a marker down and build on that performance.”

“France were very good last weekend and will be even stronger at home, and this will be a big test, but these guys have been working hard for the opportunity and are desperate to go out and perform,” he added.

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