Rugby World Cup 2019: England team to play USA

Billy Vunipola

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play USA Rugby in England’s second pool game of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Kobe, Tokyo (KO 7:45pm local time, 11:45am UK time, live on ITV).

George Ford will captain England following the team’s 35-3 win over Tonga on Sunday.

Dan Cole, Luke Cowan Dickie and Joe Marler are named in the front row while Joe Launchbury and George Kruis will play in the second row.

Dan Cole will play his 91st Test for England becoming the third most capped England men’s player alongside Jonny Wilkinson. Youngs, who is named as a finisher, will join Cole and Wilkinson if he features during the game.

Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola retain their place in the backrow with Lewis Ludlam starting at openside flanker.

Willi Heinz will start at scrum half with Piers Francis and Jonathan Joseph selected in the centres.
Joe Cokanasiga and Ruaridh McConnochie will play on the wings with Elliot Daly named at fullback.

Jones said: “The four-day turnaround is something we experimented with against Japan last autumn and so the players have had some experience of it. You have to make sure the two days before the game are exactly the same as you would normally have for any other game. So for us, a short and fast run tomorrow and today is an active recovery day. What I see now is players handling it really well but the game on Thursday will be the litmus test.”

On the team selected for the match Jones said: “It is our best 23 and we have looked at some players that would benefit not playing in this game so have kept them out of the 23. But it is a great opportunity for another set of players to do the team proud.”

Jones added on England’s opposition: “USA are a tough, physical team who are extremely well coached by Gary Gold. There are a number of players who our guys know really well and are a team we respect. They have prepared two weeks with the marines for this game so they will be fit, tough and be playing for the pride of their country.”

England has played USA five times winning all. England’s last Test against the Eagles came in the opening pool game of Rugby World Cup 2007 in Lens, France.

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 34 caps)
14 Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)
12 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)
11 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 60 caps) C
9 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 5 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 63 caps)
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 16 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 90 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 61 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 36 caps)
6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 14 caps)
7 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 46 caps)

Finishers
16 Jack Singleton (Saracens, 2 cap)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 26 caps)
19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 76 caps)
20 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/ Sale Sharks, 15 caps)
21 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 90 caps)
22 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 74 caps)
23 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 37 caps)

15 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup 2019: England team to play USA

  1. I quite like the look of this side,paricularly in the backs,JJ”s defensive nous will keep the inexperienced wingers properly positioned and there is plenty of pace and heft to launch offensively.Ford and Francis did an admirable job in Argentina so Ive got no concerns there.
    What concerns me is the possibility that excessive loyalty sometimes comes back to bite you on the ass!. We badly need cover at 8(Morgan would be my choice) to give Billy some rest,and we need another 9 as Youngs is still too slow and Heinz is raw internationally.If necessary EJ could jettison Slade(JJ is in good nick) andNowell(plenty of back 3 cover)The one player whose fitness I would gamble on would be Mako as he is so good.

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    1. Doesn’t look like Slade is fit does it? Also question marks about Nowell. They have to make a judgement call.on this soon although I agree about waiting for Mako.
      Why do they keep playing Curry at 6?! He doesn’t play nearly as well there.

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  2. It does seem peculiar to play Billy in this game, I expect it’s because Wilson is just coming back from a minor injury. But considering we have our two biggest pool games back to back coming up, it would make sense to hold Billy back and maybe just play a hashed back row against USA (Lawes Curry, Ludlam etc). Assuming we qualify, Billy is now likely to feature in every single World Cup match. However, EJ has a better rugby brain than I, and I’m going to assume he has a plan!
    Or maybe he noticed that when we won in 2003, Lawrence Dallaglio played No8 in every single minute of every single game! (great pub quiz trivia to know)

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    1. Great pub quiz knowledge! Thanks for that Henno. Look out for it’s shameless inclusion in a future article… (will make sure to tip the hat to you).

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      1. It’s been noted that Billy is better if he is getting the game time as if he doesn’t his fitness drops so can see the sense here.

        I think he is still giving Daly time at 15 too, despite Watson looking better than him versus Tonga.

        I genuinely think Eddie is giving the squad a run out against the ‘lesser’ teams and then the Argentina game forward will be the 15 more or less for the tournament but feel it is going to be Tongan in shape.

  3. I can think of one more reason to play Billy in these games. Mako is still not fit. I would say once Mako is fit, maybe Eddie will rest Billy, even if it’s for half a game? Mako is almost as effective in heavy traffic as Billy, and although he may not have Billy’s speed, he has great hands and a tremendous work-rate for a prop.

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  4. I do think we should win this one fairly comfortably and would rest a couple people, whose injury would derail our campaign, where we can. I would rest BV and play Ludlam at 8 alongside Lawes and Curry. Wilson can come on early and share the load. I get playing keeps Billy fit etc but it’s a needless risk and highlights a real lack of contingency in back row options for me.

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    1. I think Ludlam would make a good 8. He carries hard and gets involved with everything around the pitch. He’s a big lad with plenty of pace and good hands.

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