Centre role for Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph as England make 14 changes

England have selected Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph as their centres for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up against France in Paris. 

Centre role for Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph as England make 14 changes

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has made 14 changes to the team that dispatched Les Blues 19-14 at Twickenham last weekend – only wing Jonny May survives – in a line-up close to his first choice starting XV.

There is no place among the 23 for Sam Burgess or Henry Slade even though they made fine Test debuts against France – a decision that will intensify speculation over their potential involvement at the World Cup.

Instead, Lancaster has opted for Danny Cipriani and Billy Twelvetrees on the bench for the last outing before the final 31-man squad for the global showpiece on home soil is announced by the August 31 deadline.

Cipriani and Twelvetrees made substitute appearances at Twickenham but had little opportunity to shine in their quest to win selection at fly-half/full-back and centre respectively.

“Having reviewed last Saturday there were a lot of things we were pleased with considering it was the first game,” Lancaster said. “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.”

Brad Barritt, struggling with a calf problem, and Joseph are the only certainties to make the World Cup, leaving Burrell, Twelvetrees, Burgess and Slade to fight it out for the two remaining centre places. Lancaster has demanded a big performance from Burrell, who starts at 12 but can cover both inside and outside centre, in the second of two World Cup warm-up matches against France.

Full-back Mike Brown makes his first appearance since facing France in March after recovering from concussion and his Harlequins team-mate Chris Robshaw is back at the helm.

Number eight Nick Easter is on the bench while favoured second-row pairing of Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes are re-united. Directing operations at half-back are Ben Youngs and George Ford. Jack Nowell is given the stage to show what he can do after wing rivals May and Anthony Watson dazzled Twickenham.

England :

Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), J Joseph (Bath), L Burrell (Northampton), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), T Youngs (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements:

J George (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), D Wilson (Bath), D Attwood (Bath Rugby), N Easter (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), D Cipriani (Sale), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester).

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