How England could line up for Rugby World Cup opener with Anthony Watson missing entire tournament and Elliot Daly uncertain
- England are already without captain Owen Farrell and starting 8 Bill Vunipola
- Watson set to miss entire campaign with Daly doubtful
- Jonny May and Joe Cokanasiga have been called up to the team of the tournament
England head coach Steve Borthwick has faced another selection headache following injuries to Elliot Daly and Anthony Watson.
Both players had been selected in the original Rugby World Cup squad, but Watson will miss the entire tournament with Daly doubtful.
This represents an additional stake compared to the disastrous preparations for England following the suspensions by Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola for high tackles against Wales and Ireland respectively.
In the immediate term, Borthwick has called up wingers Jonny May – who will start at 11 against Fiji – and Joe Cokanasiga to replace injured Watson and Daly.
With England world Cup The campaign is set to start on September 9 and with only one warm-up game left to play, there isn’t much time left to experiment and find a solution.
Elliot Daly will miss the World Cup for England
Anthony Watson doubtful for England’s World Cup campaign after injury
So how could England line up against Argentina with a large number of key players missing?
England group matches for the Rugby World Cup
Argentina – September 9 (Marseille)
Japan – September 17 (Nice)
Chile – September 23 (Lille)
Samoa – October 7 (Lille)
Ellis Genge should start for England. The prop became a reliable member of the peloton and repeatedly found himself as vice-captain.
At the bitch jamie george seems the most likely option. The 32-year-old has made 79 appearances for England, scoring 18 tries since his debut in 2015.
Kyle Sinckler complete the first row here. The Bristol Bear suffered a head injury in the 2019 final loss to South Africa which prevented them from finishing the game. He will still have things to finish at this year’s World Cup.
The always impressive Maro Itoje was listed to start in the lockout for Steve Borthwick’s team. He was impressive in England’s run to the World Cup final in 2019 and will have to play a key role here.
Ollie Chessum should join Itoje as the other lock. The 22-year-old has impressed every time he has played for England and starting against Fiji could indicate his standing at the World Cup.
Courtney Lois captained the team in Owen Farrell’s absence and should be the case here as he starts at the flank. Borthwick was lyrical about his captaincy ahead of the clash, with Fiji calling the striker ‘a shining role model for young players’.
Jack Willis missed just one game in the Six Nations, underlining his importance to this England side. Since scoring a try on his debut, Willis has gone from strength to strength.
Ben Earl should replace the suspended Billy Vunipola against Fiji and should keep his place against Argentina. It will be his first test start at 8am, but it indicates Borthwick’s thinking in the position.
There are a number of options as a scrum-half for England, but the keys will apparently be handed over to Ben Youngs. The experienced Leicester Tiger should provide a safe hand in this position with so many changes expected around him.
Again, we should expect an experienced chef to be associated with Youngs. George Ford started in place of Farrell against Ireland and will do so again against Fiji, expect to see Ford start the game against Argentina.
As Jonny May makes his debut against Fiji, expect Max Malin to be the 11-year-old at the start of the World Cup. The advantage goes to Malins having been selected in the original team by Steve Borthwick.
Joe Marchant has played as a winger during his career and could be deployed in that position against Argentina.
Max Malins is a natural winger and should feature at 11
George Ford has replaced Owen Farell and is expected to start against Argentina
Manu Tuilagi started in the center against Ireland and Fiji, seemingly confirming his place against Argentina. Tuilagi’s intensity will be essential if England are to achieve anything at the World Cup.
Ollie Lawrence should start alongside Tuilagi in the crosses. The Bath star won Gallagher Premiership Player of the Season honors after the 2022-23 campaign, cementing his claim to a starting spot.
Joe Marchant played 19 times as a winger in his career and could make his 20th appearance in that position against Argentina. Traditionally a center, he has the speed to replace him if necessary.
In the back, expect Freddy Steward to debut against Argentina. The Leicester Tiger has proven to be a very effective defender and a sure pair of hands under the high ball when called upon.