Marcus Smith is set to be included in England’s final Rugby World Cup squad on Monday after Steve Borthwick said he felt it was necessary to select three midfielders for the tournament. Smith fell out of favor during the Six Nations after the England Vs France horror show, but was named to Saturday’s first warm-up against Wales and is on his way to a 33rd spot alongside captain Owen Farrell and George Ford.
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Four years ago, Eddie Jones took just two midfielders, Farrell and Ford, to Japan with him, but since then the team’s size has grown from 31 to 33 players, giving Borthwick more leeway. In addition, the head coach believes that the threat of a suspension, as well as the fact that concussion protocols now require players to be on suspension for up to 12 days, calls for more players in specialized positions.
Now I have a pretty clear structure,” Borthwick said. In these key positions you need depth, three players who can play in that position. Given the number of cards given out, you need depth for these specialist positions. If someone does get a headbutt, you’re potentially looking at 12 days and could miss two test matches. You need to protected and have enough depth in these specialized positions. Which means positional flexibility is really important at 33.
Farrell and Ford: The Battle for the No. 10 Jersey
Farrell started England’s last game in the semi-final and although he rests with the vast majority of Premier League finalists on Saturday, he is Favorite for the No. 10 jersey when the World Cup kicks off.
Ford has not yet appeared under Borthwick for England, but he was a key part of his Premier League-winning team with Leicester and after regaining his fitness towards the end of last season, he again established himself as a senior member of the national team that appeared to leave Smith on the sidelines.
Along with teammates Danny Kare and Alex Dombrandt against Wales, Smith got the opportunity to showcase his talents in Cardiff on Saturday. I rate Marcus exceptionally highly,” Borthwick added. He has an incredible skill set and the ability to find space. I think he understands when there are defenders he can take out.
He can either pull them out of the queue and send other people into space, or he can find the place himself. I think he worked a lot with [offensive coach] Richard Wigglesworth on how we want to attack and on the shooting strategy and he really developed his defence with Kevin Sinfield.
I have been very impressed with Markus in this camp as well as in all my interactions with him. He is a young man who has already achieved a lot in the game, but he has even more interesting goals in the future.
Borthwick’s Tactical Approach to Squad Formation
Borthwick intends to complete the formation of the 33-man squad on Saturday night and brief the players one by one on Sunday. Borthwick says he already knows the vast majority of his team and is determined to keep his players updated on where they all summer. Rather than let them worry about his potential inclusion. Borthwick sought to bring clarity to his side, who were addressed by England head coach Gareth Southgate on Thursday.
“Steve was very open with me, Smith told the BBC. We had a constant conversation. It was a very open forum that I enjoyed a lot, knowing the hierarchy, knowing where we all stand. It encourages all of us to compete and challenge each other on the training field, but it’s also very collaborative when we’re in conference rooms trying to analyze practices. We are very open in our thoughts and always share ideas.”
England management are going out of their way to insist that Saturday’s match is not a qualifier. However, there is a shootout feel to the selected team, with Tom Pearson winning his first wide game, David Ribbans and George Martin lined up. For more about England Vs Chile Tickets.
Dombrandt is number 8, and Guy Porter and Joe Marchand named centers. Joe Kokanashiga could also make it to the final lineup with strong performances, while Theo Dan and Tom Willis could also win debuts off the bench.
Gatland’s Optimism Amidst Underestimation
Warren Gatland supported Wales to exceed expectations at the Rugby World Cup. When asked if he liked that his team written off, the head coach replied: Yes. Keep doing it because it will only make us stronger. I am so excited. I’m telling you; this team will do something special. I think if I look back at the Six Nations and everything that was going on, I probably should have let things develop a bit and not be as direct or demanding as I might normally be.
Gatland will give caps to three players Max Llewellyn, Corey Domahowski and Keiron Assiratti from the starting lineup, captained for the first time by flanker Jake Morgan.
“The fact that things have settled down and there are a lot of new players, that we have become much more responsible for the way we do things and for the requirements of the standards, was brilliant,” added Gatland. “As a group, we are in a good place. I promise you now, we will surprise some people.”
Four-try Samoa down Tonga in Pacific Nations Cup
Samoa made four tries as they continued their preparations for the Rugby World Cup with a 34–9 victory over Tonga on bonus points in the final round of the Pacific Nations Cup in Apia. Hooker Sama Malolo scored the first close-range try in a tense first half in the Samoan capital, and three more tore the game from the Tongans after half-time.
Lock Miracle Fai’ilagi went behind the rolling hammer, center Duncan Paia’aua grabbed second and substitute midfielder Melani Matavao missed the line for third after a quick penalty in the 63rd minute. For more about England Vs Chile Tickets.
D’Angelo Lehuila, who replaced former Wallabies playmaker Christian Lealifano for five eighths at Samoa, scored 14 from the tee. The first half was a real hand fight, said Samoan skipper Michael Alalalatoa.
“We knew the Tongans would bring the physical game, but we were able to withstand that pressure in the first half and score points and build some cohesion in the second. agree to three fines.”
The win was Samoa’s second in the Pacific Nations Cup after a 24-22 victory over Japan in Sapporo last month. They are one point behind Fiji, who play Japan in Tokyo in the tournament’s final match later on Saturday, by one point in the standings.
Samoa will play England, Japan, Argentina and Chile in Group D for the World Cup, while Tonga will face world champions South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Romania in Group B. The World Cup will begin in Paris on 8 September.
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