England head coach Stuart Lancaster has backed Owen Farrell to make an impact from the bench against Australia at Twickenham tomorrow after dropping him from his starting XV for the first time since June 2012.
Lancaster has opted to go with Billy Twelvetrees instead of the out-of-form Farrell at inside centre for the QBE International, with George Ford getting another chance at fly-half.
“Owen will play a different role off the bench this week — at 10 or 12,” said Lancaster. “We know we can use him in both positions.
“He accepted it well. He’s a great professional and very team-focused. He accepted George (Ford) had played well and that he’s not on top form.
“He will contribute from the bench and then go away and work hard with Saracens. I’m sure he will be back.”
Lancaster believes Ford deserves a chance to build on his promising showing against Samoa.
“Managing a game like this is a big thing to put on George’s shoulders. We know what a talent he is and this will test him at the next level.”
ENGLAND (v Australia, Twickenham, tomorrow, 2.30pm)
M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), B Barritt (Saracens), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), D Attwood (Bath), C Lawes (Northampton), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Gloucester).
Replacements: R Webber (Bath), M Mullan (Wasps), K Brookes (Newcastle), G Kruis (Saracens), J Haskell (Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), M Yarde (H’quins).
WALES (v South Africa, Millennium Stadium, tomorrow, 2.30pm)
L Halfpenny (Toulon); A Cuthbert (Cardiff), J Davies (Clermont Auvergne), J Roberts (Racing Metro), L Williams (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys); G Jenkins (Cardiff), S Baldwin (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), J Ball (Scarlets), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (unatt.), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Dragons).
Replacements: E Phillips (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), R Jones (Scarlets), L Charteris (Racing Metro), J King (Ospreys), M Phillips (Racing Metro), R Priestland (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets).
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