Lewis Ludlam replaces suspended Tom Curry as England make minimal changes for Japan

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Lewis Ludlam replaces the suspended Tom Curry in the back row with Steve Borthwick making minimal changes for England‘s second Rugby World Cup fixture against Japan.

After a much-needed win over Argentina in Marseille, England head to Nice full of confidence.

There is a return for Kyle Sinckler at tighthead, with the prop absent last week having not quite been 100 percent after injury, while Joe Marler is promoted to start ahead of Ellis Genge.

The backline remains intact from the 27-10 win against Los Pumas.

Ludlam’s elevation comes after an all-action cameo in that game, with the versatile Northampton back rower making 11 tackles after coming off the bench with 15 minutes left.


Ben Earl slides across the openside after an impressive showing from the start, while Billy Vunipola, back available after suspension, has to be content with a place among the replacements.

Courtney Lawes continues as captain with Owen Farrell still banned and George Ford will once more orchestrate affairs from fly half after an outstanding individual display at the Stade Velodrome last Saturday.

“It was both pleasing and important that we were able to start our Rugby World Cup campaign with a good win against Argentina last Saturday,” said Borthwick.

“It was incredible to see so many of our supporters in the stadium in Marseille. Their support means a great deal to the team. We hope that we were able to provide the supporters both here in France and at home with some great memories, and we are setting out to do the same again this Sunday in Nice.

“After another good week’s preparation in Le Touquet, we are looking forward to the challenge of playing a Japan side that will be full of confidence following their comprehensive win over Chile in their opening fixture of the competition.”

A win over Japan would all but book England’s place in the quarter finals, with a trip to Lille to face Chile next up in Pool D.

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The Brave Blossoms, who reached the last eight four years ago, opened their tournament with a win over the South American side.

England XV to face Japan in Nice (8pm BST, Sunday 17 September)

1. Joe Marler, 2. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler; 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Ollie Chessum; 6. Courtney Lawes (captain), 7. Ben Earl, 8. Lewis Ludlam; 9. Alex Mitchell, 10. George Ford; 11. Elliot Daly, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 13. Joe Marchant, 14. Jonny May; 15. Freddie Steward.

Replacements: 16. Theo Dan, 17. Ellis Genge, 18. Will Stuart, 19. George Martin, 20. Billy Vunipola; 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Marcus Smith, 23. Ollie Lawrence.

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