Owen Farrell to start at fly-half for England

Owen Farrell to start at fly-half for England

England have selected Owen Farrell at fly-half and Sam Burgess at inside centre for Saturday’s crunch World Cup showdown with Wales at Twickenham.

George Ford has been demoted as first choice playmaker – a position held since last autumn – to make room for Farrell despite showing solid form during the warm-up matches and the 35-11 victory over Fiji.

England have completed a radical overhaul of their midfield after Jonathan Joseph was ruled out against Wales with a chest injury by picking Burgess and moving Brad Barritt to outside centre.

The Farrell-Burgess-Barritt combination – the most muscular trio available to head coach Stuart Lancaster – has been chosen in anticipation of the looming gainline war at Twickenham.

The final change to the starting XV sees Billy Vunipola picked at number eight after Ben Morgan lost his battle to recover from a knee problem.

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