Rugby World Cup quarterfinal: England Line Up and Ratings

England line up
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A hugely exciting weekend of Rugby World Cup quarterfinal action starts with England v Australia on Saturday morning. The team’s selection, and the England line up are critical to the hopes of the national side.

Charlie Inglefield previews the two confirmed line-ups to see who has a slight advantage – starting with England.

England Line Up

15. Elliot Daly
Daly had his best game in a while against Argentina which is good news for England fans. England will need him to be proactive and busy on Saturday. He has the pace and the footwork to trouble the very best defences. Needs a big one against the Wallabies. 7/10

14. Anthony Watson
Watson is world-class when fit and he is back to his best form after a horrendous run of injuries. England’s back three will punish Australia if they are allowed a chance to run instead of chasing box kicks. Watson’s broken field running is reminiscent of Jason Robinson at his best. England must get him the ball. 8/10

13. Henry Slade
It’s a huge selection call from Eddie Jones given how little rugby Slade has played since May. Slade will have to get up to speed with the intensity of a World Cup Quarter Final with barely any rugby behind him. This guy is so talented though and he has the ability to unleash England’s feared but underused backline. A very exciting if risky selection. 7/10

12. Manu Tuilagi
England’s attack will be heavily reliant on Manu Tuilagi and Billy Vunipola making the hard yards. The Leicester man is as fit as he has ever been without losing his awesome power. Jones will want him to run down Australia’s 10/12 channel on Saturday. A key man for England’s chances of progressing to the semi-finals. 8/10

11. Jonny May
May has been superb for England over the last 18 months and his pace, as well as his work-rate, is such a weapon for Eddie Jones. Get him the ball with some space to work in and he has the ability to tear any opposition apart. May looks primed and ready to go. 8.5/10

10. Owen Farrell (C)
England needs Owen Farrell at his best against Australia. There is no George Ford and therefore the playmaking duties fall to him and Slade. He has had a quiet tournament so far but games against Australia get his blood up. He is one of the first names on the teamsheet and England will want him chest out and leading the line in defence and attack. How Farrell communicates with referee Jérôme Garcès will be important as well. 9/10

9. Ben Youngs
Youngs, like Daly, had his best game of the tournament against Argentina. However, his box kicking was too long and he simply has to get this part of the game spot on. Give the Wallabies time to run it back and England will be in trouble. Youngs has so much big-game experience so he has to become one of England’s leaders on Saturday. 6.5/10

1. Mako Vunipola
Mako is deemed fit enough to start and he is the first choice. There have been few better performances than his monster effort against Ireland in the 2019 Six Nations. Hopefully, his hamstrings will stay intact on Saturday because when on form he is critical to England’s go forward. Vunipola can falter at scrum time so he has to front up to Australia’s improving front row. 8/10

2. Jamie George
Now England’s Mr Consistent and does all the basics extremely well. What we have not seen much of is George’s ability in the loose. Hopefully, on Saturday he can show what he can do on the hoof. England’s management, however, will want him to hit his jumpers and shove hard at scrum time. George would have taken note on how well Australia’s lineout poaching went against Georgia last week. 7.5/10

3. Kyle Sinckler
Sinckler just loves giving it out to the Aussies and he will look to wind them up further on Saturday. Sinckler is a human wrecking ball and makes his fair share of tackles. He must be careful not to let his temper go too far and concede stupid penalties. Sinckler will relish the battle against the Wallaby front row who will doubtless look to wind him up as well. 8/10

4. Courtney Lawes
Lawes pips George Kruis and it is an interesting selection by Eddie Jones. Lawes is an explosive tackler and he will relish the physical challenge. England are blessed with so many options in the second row so Kruis coming on will only strengthen England’s cause. Lawes can get pinged for penalties so he and Itoje have to keep their discipline. 7/10

5. Maro Itoje
Itoje has been one of England’s best in Japan. He has such an incredible engine and is a destructive presence at the breakdown. Itoje’s influence in the lineout, defending rolling mauls and terrorising half-backs is immense. Itoje must keep on the right side of the referee’s whistle. 9/10

6. Tom Curry
England’s best player in 2019 and he has been an absolute nonstop ball of energy this World Cup. Curry has a huge engine, hits well above his weight and can rival Hooper and Pocock in turning over opposition ball. England will want him racking up the carries as well as tackling any Wallaby in sight. His battle against Hooper and Pocock will be worth the admission fee alone. 8/10

7. Sam Underhill
Underhill was man of the match against the Pumas. His intensity in defence never stopped and he has the priceless ability to knock people back in the tackle. Underhill is becoming a key fixture in this England team and his running game is vastly improved. Eddie Jones will need him to fight fire with fire against the Australian forwards. 7.5/10

8. Billy Vunipola
This is a massive game for Billy Vunipola as he has failed to properly fire in this World Cup. England are saying that he is fully fit for the Wallaby clash and we will soon know. All England will want is for Vunipola to make the carries and plenty of them. He is such a devastating ball runner and his yardage will give England backs time on the ball. 8.5/10

Total: 117.5 (150)


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