Ford to get full England debut

November 19, 2014 17:27:53 UK

George Ford will make his first international start for England against Samoa.

England coach Stuart Lancaster will hand George Ford his first international start against Samoa in one of five changes to the side which lost to South Africa.

The 21-year-old Bath fly-half has been given the nod to replace the injured Kyle Eastmond, which will enable Owen Farrell to move to inside centre for the game at Twickenham on Saturday.

In the other changes to the XV, Ben Youngs comes in for Danny Care at scrum-half, Ben Morgan takes over from Billy Vunipola at eight and 29-year-old James Haskell also starts at blindside flanker. Rob Webber is brought in at hooker as Dylan Hartley has to settle for a place on the bench.

Lancaster is looking for the side to end a run of five successive defeats and secure a seventh straight victory over Samoa in preparation for the final autumn international against next year’s World Cup Pool A opponents Australia on 29th November.

He said at Wednesday afternoon’s press conference: “There’s some exciting combinations we want to look at.

“Ben Morgan deserved to get his chance after what he’s one off the bench and Ben Youngs also in great form – and we’re excited to see George Ford get that first start at 10.

“I felt the team that played against New Zealand deserved a second chance and while some player improved there were one or two areas which weren’t as good as I hoped so we get a chance now to look at some other players and combinations.”

England are 1.90 to defeat Samoa with a -19.5 points handicap, while they are 2.10 to win Pool A at next year’s World Cup and 4.33 to then go on and win the tournament.

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