Rugby World Cup 2019: England Team To Play Australia

Eddie Jones

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his side to play Australia in the quarter-final of Rugby World Cup 2019 on Saturday 19th October at Oita Stadium (KO 4:15pm local time, 8:15am UK time live on ITV).

Captain Owen Farrell is named at fly half with Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade selected as the centre pairing.

Jonny May will make his 50th appearance for England on Saturday and is named on the left wing with Anthony Watson on the right. Elliot Daly is selected at fullback.

Billy Vunipola starts at number 8 having recovered from injury with Tom Curry and Sam Underhill named as flankers.

Mako Vunipola makes his first start in Japan having played in his first game of the tournament against Argentina from the bench.

Jones said: “Once you get to the quarter-finals it’s about having the right mindset. We know how well we can play, it’s about us playing to our strengths and trying to take away from what Australia want.

“Australia are a clever team, they will have some specific attacking strategies to play against us so we need to have a great situational awareness. We need to defend with brutality and when we have the ball we need play on top of them.”

On May reaching 50 caps for England, Jones added: “It is a great achievement and an honour for him and his family. Everyone in the team is really pleased for him. I think this World Cup has really shown how hard he has worked at his game. He has come back from a significant knee injury to be close to the fastest winger, if not the fastest winger in the world, and has the ability to score tries from any situation.”

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 36 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 39 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 23 caps)
12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 37 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 49 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 76 caps) C
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 92 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 55 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 42 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 28 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 31 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 78 caps)
6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 16 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 48 caps)

Finishers
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 65 caps)
18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 92 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens, 38 caps)
20 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 7 caps)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 62 caps)
23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 44 caps)

64 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup 2019: England Team To Play Australia

  1. Well this is a bit of a gamble isn’t it? And not one I understand either.

    Jones talks about brutality in defence yet leaves one of his best defenders and scrummagers, Marler, on the bench and possibly his best defender, Wilson, out of the team entirely.

    God only knows if Slade and MV are match fit and the decision to play them could well backfire. It seems to me that the selection of Joseph on the bench over Nowell suggests that he does not expect Slade to go the distance.

    Certainly dropping one of the players of the tournament to date in Ford for an out of sorts Farrell seems to be a strange decision.

    All this worries me. For although we have beaten the Wallabies regularly over the past decade and more, we all know that you can never write them off – even with Cheika in charge and the rumours of Petaia being selected at o/c…

    Should we win narrowly, I shall thank our lucky stars and hope Eddie makes some changes

    Should we win hugely, I shall praise Eddie and his god-like genius

    Should we lose, I shall revert to my opinion that Eddie is a sleeper agent for Rugby Australia, working to gain revenge for 2003…

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  2. Oh also. Garces with the whistle. Poite on the sidelines. Skeen in the TMO booth

    Prepare yourselves for some interesting refereeing! I wonder what the odds are on Cheika smashing something?

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  3. My only guess is Wilson and Nowell arent fully fit? I can perhaps understand playing curry and underhill against “The Pooper” but Ludlum over Wilson on bench seems strange.

    I think Joseph can also feel as hard done by as Ford being snubbed for Slade. His defence is solid and can cut apart defences. Perhaps he wants that impact off the bench?

    As Pablito said, who are we to question Eddie now, we can only do that with hindsight!

  4. This selection makes me a little nervous, given that Ford has been regularly picked at 10 and has been playing very well. Jones has talked about picking a certain team to play a particular match, so dropping Ford suggests that he’s worried about Samu Kerevi running him over.

    It means Manu Tuilagi lining up against Kerevi, so maybe that’s what he’s aiming for.

    We’ll never know what Eddie would have done against France, so maybe this has been the plan all along and this side would have been picked last week too.

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    1. Read this twitter post regarding England’s team: “Tuilagi tenderises the beef ? ? so slade can slice through it ?”

      That’s what Jones is going for with this physical lineup. If Australia don’t knock you out in the 1st half it will be good night I think.

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  5. The Wallabies have also picked a young , mercurial lad at centre to partner the bullocking Kerevi, and Genia at S/H suggesting they are going for quick, slick running rugby which we seem to find hard to deal with.
    Pablito has voiced all the concerns i had when i saw our 23. It looks like we are going along the “slow it down , break it up” route with heavyweight ball carriers to make the headway.
    It’s in the lap of the Gods, may the most effective team win.

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    1. Well if his play to date is any guide, having Kerevi at 12 will mean the young lad at 13 won’t get passed the ball!
      Genia is I think a lot like Youngs – not as good as he once was and a bit too slow to the rucks nowadays

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    2. If that is the case Acee, and I think it probably is, maybe the idea is that Slade´s big left boot and Farrell´s big right boot can be used to pin the Aussies further back in the corners than Ford would. I fancy our chances more if it pees with rain, and also share Pablito´s concerns. No way that Mako can be match fit, and Slade has hardly had any rugby. Ludlum makes no sense at all. If BV comes off, that leaves three young tyros in the back row which, with Wilson in the squad is an unnecessary risk.

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      1. Weather in Oita: it’s pissing down now, and is likely to continue to do so overnight, but by the time the game kicks off tomorrow afternoon, the forecast is dry, sunny, about 23 degrees…

  6. No doubt we will have to suspend judgement,but my feeling is that EJ has been too reactive and not proactive enough.Much has been made of the perceived threat of Kerevi and co coming down the 10/12 channel-I think this is somewhat over egging the pudding.One would think that Kerevi would think twice after being obliterated by Underhill(He can ask Matera what that’s like).The Lawes selection I understand but don’t agree with.As for Slade the jury is still out,though glad to see JJ,he will be important when the game loosens up.
    Quite frankly we can not have a situation where the selection of the most important player is influenced by factors other than playing talent-need one mention the Scottish game!.The point I made then still holds good-Fords job is to win games it is NOT to cover EJ”s shilly-shallying or Farrells incompetent game management.

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  7. As others have said if we win it doesn’t matter what we say but it seems he is taking unnecessary risks by starting 2 players rusty as hell and a 10/12/13 combination with very little game time together.Nor after 4 years does he know who his best 10 is.Also reduced line out capability by dropping Kruis.
    He has been with the squad for 3 months so his judgement is based on much better evidence than ours but he can’t deny he is taking risks.

    1. Maybe Cheika has been inspired by the Japanese tactics, i.e. quick and slick, it,s been very effective until now and South Africa should be wary. And the fact that he has selected the young guy in the centre seems to confirm this. We haven’t (England) had any really tough opposition yet, so it’s going to be a tough one. Finally, don’t really agree with the changes especially Ford-Farrel, but he seems incapable of dropping his captain which is somewhat understandable – not like the French (where I live) and am still trying to understand their logic!

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  8. When I first read the selection I was a bit confused, but running through them I can see the logic (I think). These changes have been made to counter act selections in the Aus starting 15.
    I think there will be two main issues on Saturday. 1. Getting the ref on side early, particularly at scrum time by “painting a good picture” etc.
    2. Discipline! Aus have been poor in this regard so far. Some very dubious tackles (not all of which have been punished) and a lot of back chatting to the ref. We must not get caught up in this. We don’t want to lose anyone for any period of time in this game, or Aus will make us pay.

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  9. I like the selection of Itoje and Lawes. As long as they can both stay on the right side of the ref, they should cause some defensive issues off the line against Genia and Lealiifano. Genia has that habit of taking a few steps before passing the ball away, so I expect our locks have been tasked with attacking this and sticking Genia on his back pretty quick (legally of course!).

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    1. On the down side of course, you break up the extremely effective line out unit that is George, Itoje and Kruis
      That and Lawes imo does not add as much heft at scrum time as does Kruis

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      1. A fair point Pablito. It does make me wonder who is making the line out calls? I guess Lawes, but Kruis is the master of it for sure. As for the heft, surprisingly no difference weight wise between the two.

  10. I think the team is pretty decent. Ignoring injuries for a moment this is possibly the strongest team we have and would’ve been most peoples first choice after the warm up games.
    I think Slade and Mako are risks, especially Slade who didn’t look too convincing when he made his brief cameo v Argentina. But if theyre fit then they have to play.

  11. Don’t like this team at all. Faz has been poor so dropping Ford, our form player, is very risky. What has Slade showed in his brief cameos except rust? Manu is more effective at 13 than 12.
    Don’t like breaking up the Saracens axis of George, Krutoje, especially as Lawes is an impact player better suited to the bench. Don’t like that yet again there is no Wilson in the 23 our form player last Autumn. How fit are the Vunipolae? Looks like Jones is trying to recreate the team which beat Ireland in Dublin but I don’t see it working with all the injury and form issues.
    It’s a very conservative selection which breaks up units which are functioning for ones which are dubious. We have beaten Australia countless times with the Ford Farrell said so this really is somewhat bizarre.
    Think Cheika will be happy. This has a horrible feel of the last world cup…hope we won’t have the same outcome.

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        1. It’s making me very nervous Pablito. We should be playing to our strengths rather than bottling it by over-emphasing their’s. What if Faz is poor again and Slade is as rusty as he has seemed before? Our scrum and line out are better with Kruis as well.

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    1. You get a thumbs up for coining the term Vunipolae alone Bolter! That HAS to become the Rugby Blog approved collective noun for them.

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      1. Ah, apologies Acee, you were there before me on the “Vunipolae” compliment, utter genius that it is.

        However, being a pedantic twat, I have to correct you on the use of “collective noun”. Vunipolae is clearly a brilliant plural form; a collective noun would be along lines of a “flock” of sheep, or a “murder” of crows. Thinking of one for these boys could be fun – I’ll get the ball rolling:
        – A monstrosity of Vunipolae
        – A carnage of Vunipolae
        – A destruction of Vunipolae

        I’m sure there are better ones…

  12. Sorry guys, this must be my fault – jinxed it with that article on why Ford is the key man the other week… I am honestly surprised by this call. I did have the nagging sense that Jones might do it, I think he has always preferred the idea of Farrell at 10 and it took the emergence of Slade as a genuine international 13 to make it possible given the need for two playmakers in the backline, but it really worries me. A) Slade has played barely any rugby B) yes, post Ireland in the 6N this looked like the best combination for England, but Ford has been inspirational recently, Farrell less so C) it just reminds me of 2015 all over again… I pointed to that dropping of Ford for Farrell at 10 as the moment Lancaster bottled it. Tuilagi and Slade are a better and more creative pairing to play outside Farrell than Burgess and Barrett, but it still feels like a move to nullify Australia than bring out the best from England…

    Also Kruis to the bench? Nope.

    Anyway, worried rant over – we know this combo can play (see the start of the 6N and in the autumn tests last year where they beat Aus, SA and ran NZ close – albeit all close games) and I hope it is a masterstroke that is the making of this England team. But it makes me nervous.

    And I really feel for Ford. The guy can’t catch a break at World Cups…

    1. Maybe we’ll see a repeat of the Aus summer tour? Jones realises the mistake early one, hooks Slade and brings Ford on, who goes on to salvage the game.
      I feel for Ford too, I’m a big fan and his game management and playmaking makes up for his size. I do think though if Slade and Tui are both fit and firing (which they must be if Jones has chosen them) then they showed in the warm-ups how devastating they can be. Selecting Petaia could be a master stroke or it could be the weakness England need to exploit in midfield.

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      1. I was thinking about that Jake! I am worried about Slade’s form coupled with Faz’s weak showings. Thing is that in the beginning Eddie made the right tactical calls regarding substitutes but has been rubbish recently ie letting Faz and Youngs kick away everything without replacing them in the 6 nations. Just the memory of that gives me the fear, especially as Faz was in form then not playing poorly so we have 2 out of 3 players to worry about ie him and Slade. It’s very risky.

        1. I do agree re Slade, just remember he went down v Argentina after a short time on the field and wasn’t 100%. That being said, it was 2 weeks ago.
          I am hoping there is an element of keeping powder dry, not letting teams see the strike plays, set piece moves etc but that is clutching at straws.
          Ford and Farrell have done the job v Aus previously but I wouldn’t want to use that in predicting a result here. Australia are different, they’re always going to be good offensively so maybe that is Farrell’s job – marshal the defense. But then if thats the case, why isn’t JJ on to do the same from the 13 channel?? The mind boggles…

    2. England’s best centre pairing of the last 4-5 years was Slammin Sam Burgess with Slade in a warm-up game pre-2015 world cup. If Lancaster had had courage in his own convictions, that could have been an awesome partnership.

      Tuilagi-Slade could see a revival of that magic, but with more creativity. Does it need Farrell to complete the combo? Don’t know, but I’m fairly sure it was Farrell-Burgess-Slade in that game I’m thinking of.

  13. One thing for sure is that cards, especially red cards, are going to determine the outcome of games. This side, with its emphasis on defence rather than attack, is more likely to concede cards…especially if Faz sees more of the ball. Lawes gave away some really stupid penalties early on and I’d be worried about him again.
    If Billy goes off early I don’t like Ludlum being the replacement rather than Wilson.

    1. Yeh, what has Wilson done to irk Jones? Ludlam is a good player but honestly don’t rate him above Wilson. Maybe because he’s a bit quicker he’s more of a natural replacement for one of underhill or curry? But not as powerful a ball carrier and with Billy’s injury…

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      1. I don’t get it Henry. Wilson has proven himself playing at the highest level.whilst Ludlum is very raw. Makes no sense to me.
        Also Petaia at 13 is very inexperienced so would have fancied Manu having a run or 3 at him rather than Slade who.hasn’t played in ages.
        I really do think this looks like Eddie trying to recreate the team which beat Ireland in Dublin but he doesn’t have the same players in form (oh and Wilson was great that game!). It’s Lancaster thinking ie putting the abstract idea of something before the nuts and bolts reality.

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        1. Regrettably I agree with all the concerns above. Especially given that Ford’s kicking out of hand vs Arg was superb – and with a novice at 13, an ex RL player on the wing and Beale at fb I feel we really could have exploited that
          So much of this hinges on:
          A. Farrell having shaken off his poor form
          B. Slade and MV not being rusty and being fully fit
          If those two things occur and as only EJ gets to see them in training, we can only hope they will, then we have the ability to win this game and win it well. I do love the idea of Kerevi, Petaia and Koroibete having to deal with an in-form Tuilagi, Slade and May/Watson/Daly
          However if those 2 things don’t happen…then bye bye another RWC!

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    2. I’d maybe be more worried about that if I were Australia. They have received 3 yellow cards (and a respective ban) to England’s 0. They did play one extra game tbf.
      Both of these team’s are very physical so I am expecting some big collisions, though I’m hoping it isn’t marred by a stupid tackle or a poor decision leading to a red.
      Touch-wood 30 men leave the field at the end of the match and we have a great spectacle…that England win ;).

  14. RE: Ford – lets get a bit of a reality check guys….yes Ford has had three pretty good games but surely we would expect nothing less against the oppostion we have faced where we have pretty much been on the front foot all game, against less than average defences?? As for his kicking from hand, it has been average IMO. That said, I do agree Farrell has been off form so despite my ‘reality check’ above I admit I am a little suprised at his ommission. Only thing I can think is EJ wants Faz in the side, knows he has not been playing well at 12, so boots Fordy to touch.

    Theory to consider – has EJ seen something in training that has made him drop Ford? Has he been replicating what to expect from Aus and Ford has melted under pressure on the back foot in training? Has he had Manu running lines at him like expected from Kerevi and Ford has been repeatedlt steamrolled?

  15. I just hope that ,come 11 o’clock on Saturday morning we aren’t all heading to a pub to drown our sorrows and curse Eddie Jones…

    1. Heading to a pub?? I will be in a pub! RWC is my acceptable excuse to the wife to be in a pub at 8am ‘if you allowed me to be there it would be the afternoon. I need to be in the moment’

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  16. England will probably shade the game, so concerns may be irrelevant. However, how is it rational for the key playmaker until now, Ford, to be suddenly ejected? If he weren’t up to it, why hasn’t Farrell been fly1/2 all along? As mentioned elsewhere, does his being suddenly catapulted into the job for the 1/4, not smack of 50 shades of Lancaster? Also what’s the reason for breaking up the lineout line up? And why play an untested Slade? These picks aren’t rational, particularly in knock out rugby. Jones puts his usual spin on selections like Ford’s not really being dropped, but is instead an impact player, OIOW horses for courses etc. For me, now faced with the win or bust scenario, Jones has got cold feet. Reverted to safety 1st. Farrell to boot it, play the percentages, go off the corners, maul it, kick the goals, play no risk rugby. IOW, play to their strengths. Jones hasn’t changed England’s style. England have changed how he coaches. Did better when bossing Japan with little to lose & when he added innovation.

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    1. Have to agree .Needless to say I will be following your previous advice to go out and watch and thereby save my TV as I like to be optimistic but this match gives me bad feelings,particularly with what I perceive to be muddled selection thinking by EJ

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  17. Just catching up and came on here for a bloody good rant about the selection but reading the comments it looks like it has all be said already.
    Ford has been in great form for Leicester last season managing to be top points scorer in a side that was almost relegated he has carried that form through the group stages while Farrell has looked bang average. To drop him in favour of the Farrell/Tuilagi/Slade combo that saw us lose to Wales and draw with Scotland in a kick fest 6N doesn’t inspire confidence.

    Putting aside my reservations if we get the tactics right this team is still strong enough to take the Aussies but I would prefer us to play to our strengths than focus on shutting down our opponents

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  18. It certainly does look like a percentages set up,
    and the similarities being drawn to Bombers belly flops are inevitable. I’d like to think though, that Manu and Slade offer more than Burgess and Barrett ever did.
    It was inevitable though wasn’t it, this team. EJ has always played this kind of set up against AUS and you can’t really argue with the results.
    For sure Faz hasn’t been at his best, he’s had two very big hits to the head in two and half games. Two red cards against one player in 3 games. That’s got to be unprecedented in any tournament. He does bounce back very quickly, but head injuries can be very insidious, instinctive decision making isn’t part of an HIA. As tough as Faz is, no one is totally immune to injury, so you have to have a contingency. So you could say playing Ford at 10 in the pool has been appropriate and not necessarily because EJ thinks Faz isn’t good enough?

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    1. Just to add to your comments DS, one of the reasons the mighty Faz has been picked has to be his willingness to tackle anything that moves but:
      (a that opens him up to the likelihood of getting another crack on the noggin.
      )b his tackling can be a little impetuos shall we say, which means PENALTIES to the opposition and
      (c If he is on tackle duty all morning, that means we will be fighting on the back foot, having handed the initiative to the Aussies.
      I watched the press conference with Jones and Faz on YT and Jones looked and sounded more nervous than I’ve ever seen him before an England game.

      1. I worry that Faz will pick.up a card. He hasn’t been playing well and when he is off his game he has a tendency to lose it. He has been lucky in the past but the fear is that his no arms tackles will suddenly reappear. Also worried about the form of Slade who has been looking very rusty. Is he really suddenly going to come good? He has been very hit and miss in an England shirt so it’s very unclear which version is going to turn up.
        Very narked still about no Wilson.
        Hard not to see a red card coming at some point during the game. Hope it’s them not us.

  19. I pretty much agree with all of the concerns already covered here. My only positive I’m clinging to here is that with Ford , Kruis and JJ on the bench we have a bench that could definitely change the flow of a game in the later stages. If the game is in the balance in the closing stages I’d rather be bringing guys like Ford, Heinz and Kruis on who can have an impact. If it comes to that I hope EJ uses the bench early enough for them to change the game though and not give them a token 5 minutes and hope for a miracle.

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  20. The AUS bloggers are gutted Fords been benched. They were revelling at the thought of Kerevi running over him. The reaction to Petaia at centre, with having to play Beale and Hodge to accommodate him is even worse. Though not as bad as that reserved for the naming of the match officials….The green and gold consensus is that of Cheika imploding…

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  21. I understand Erasmus has made a couple of left field selections too. is this a directive from World Rugby to the tier 1 nations?????!!!!!

  22. I was wondering why there is this obsession with Kerevi given that the Faz Ford axis has faced big powerful players before and I suddenly had an utterly hideous flashback to Lancaster droning on and before the Wales England world cup quarter final about how Wales used Jamie Roberts to run over people thus necessitating changes.
    This horrible auditory memory has turned me into a basketcase!

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