Cueto in England's final team

Mark Cueto will replace the injured Josh Lewsey in England’s team to play South Africa in the World Cup final on Saturday.

Mark Cueto will replace the injured Josh Lewsey in England’s team to play South Africa in the World Cup final on Saturday.

Lewsey misses out because of a hamstring injury suffered during the semi-final victory over France last weekend.

It will be Sale Sharks wing Cueto’s fourth start of the tournament, but his first since the pool victory over Tonga almost three weeks ago.

Cueto has scored 13 tries during a 23-cap Test career and began the World Cup as England’s full-back against the United States.

England head coach Brian Ashton has otherwise retained the team and replacements’ bench on duty against France.

There are four starting line-up survivors from England’s World Cup final triumph against Australia in 2003 – full-back Jason Robinson, fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, prop Phil Vickery and lock Ben Kay.

And centre Mike Catt, 36 last month, will become the oldest player to feature in a World Cup final.

Catt’s midfield partner Mathew Tait, meanwhile, is the youngest England player to line up in a final, aged 21.

Ashton could have moved Tait from centre to wing, where he finished the France game, and handed Leicester centre Dan Hipkiss a start, but specialist wing Cueto has won the vote.

England have turned their World Cup campaign on its head, winning four successive games to reach their second successive final against all odds.

No country has ever successfully defended the Webb Ellis Trophy but South Africa will start as favourites after crushing England 36-0 in a pool encounter last month.

It was England’s record World Cup defeat, but since then they have toppled Samoa, Tonga, Australia and France.

England team for the World Cup final against South Africa at Stade de France on Saturday:

J Robinson (unattached); P Sackey (Wasps), M Tait (Newcastle), M Catt (London Irish), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); J Wilkinson (Newcastle), A Gomarsall (Harlequins); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), M Regan (Bristol), P Vickery (Wasps, capt), S Shaw (Wasps), B Kay (Leicester), M Corry (Leicester), L Moody (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), M Stevens (Bath), L Dallaglio (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), P Richards (London Irish), T Flood (Newcastle), D Hipkiss (Leicester).

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