Rugby World Cup 2019: England Team to Play Tonga

Eddie Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play Tonga in the opening pool game of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Sapporo, Japan (KO 1945 local time, 1145 UK time live on ITV Sport).

Owen Farrell will captain the side at inside centre with George Ford starting at 10.

Manu Tuilagi is named at outside centre with Elliot Daly, Jonny May and Anthony Watson making up the back three.

England’s most capped scrum half Ben Youngs will start in his 90th match for his country.

Jones has selected Joe Marler, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler in the front row with Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje chosen as the lock pairing.

Tom Curry will start at blindside flanker with Sam Underhill at open while Billy Vunipola is named at number 8.

Jones said: “The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well, our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too.

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion. They are a side if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu. They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place. We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 33 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 36 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 73 caps) C
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 47 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 59 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 89 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 62 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 40 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 25 caps)
4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 75 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 29 caps)
6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 13 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 45 caps)

Finishers
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 15 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps )
18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 89 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens, 35 caps)
20 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 4 caps)
22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)
23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 42 caps)

10 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup 2019: England Team to Play Tonga

  1. Tonga team
    Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Sosefo Sakalia, Ben Tameifuna, Sam Lousi, Leva Fifita, Sione Kalamafoni, ,Zane Kapeli, Maama Vaipalu, Sonatane Takulua, Kurt Morath, Cooper Vuna, Siale Piutau (c), Viliami Lolohea, Atieli Pakalani, David Halaifonua
    Siua Maile, Latu Talakai, Ma’afu Fia, Daniel Faleafa, Nasi Manu, Leon Fukofuka, James Faiva, Nafi Tuitavake

    Interesting to see Veainu left out and Vuna shifted from wing to inside centre

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    1. Leon thanks for this as a Coventry RFC fan i’ll be interested to see how David Halaifonua goes, first Coventry player to play in The World Cup, so many interesting little sub-plots, so excited for the tournament.

  2. Why is kruis on the bench and will the centre pairing have enough guile and pace to carve up the Tongan defence?
    I would imagine Eddie will want to play it fast and get runners from multiple angles to move Tonga’s big units around.
    Come on Boys!!

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  3. Obviously not. With 2 favourites going at it tomorrow am, their team compositions seem too difficult or irrelevant to cut & paste on to this site. And that’s not to mention having a preview of the match whose outcome could prove relevant to potential NH (incl guess who?) opponents fairly soon. Ah well, shades of complacency for ol’ time’s sake & all that. Why not?

    1. This is a blog about English rugby Don. Perhaps you could start one about NZ rugby and talk to yourself? Good game this morning though. I still fancy a NZ v SA final, but at the moment am far more interested in whether England have a decent chance or not.

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