HomeSportFord starts at fly-half as Farrell waits on appeal

Ford starts at fly-half as Farrell waits on appeal


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George Ford kicked the winning penalty against Wales last weekendGeorge Ford will start at fly-half against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday following the news captain Owen Farrell could yet be banned for his red card.World Rugby is going to appeal against the decision to overturn Farrell’s red card against Wales last weekend.Head coach Steve Borthwick said Farrell “would otherwise have played”.Ford, who is set to make his first start for England since 2021, came on as a replacement in the win over Wales, kicking the winning points.With Farrell not in the 23-man squad, Courtney Lawes will captain the side in Dublin.”In my original planning for the Summer Nations Series and as part of our Rugby World Cup preparation, Owen Farrell was due to be selected to play in this Saturday’s Test match in Dublin,” Borthwick said.”However, in light of the fact that so much of Owen’s training and match preparation time this week has been significantly affected and interrupted by the disciplinary process, I have not selected him in the matchday 23.”Owen understands the situation, but is of course disappointed, as I am, that he is missing such a special game that he would otherwise have played in.” Vice-captain Ellis Genge comes back into the starting XV after winning his 50th cap against Wales as a replacement, with new Toulon lock David Ribbans also back in the side having successfully completed his return to play protocol.The back row remains unchanged from the win over Wales with man of the match Ben Earl retaining his spot at open-side flanker.Leicester Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs partners Ford in an experienced half-back pairing after Jack van Poortvliet was ruled out of the World Cup.Centre Manu Tuilagi returns to the starting XV to partner Joe Marchant, who has impressed in the two warm-up matches against Wales, while Anthony Watson plays his first match of the summer on the right wing.Ford’s chance to shineWith the length of a possible ban for Farrell unknown, Borthwick will hope Ford can ease the worry about the potential loss of England’s skipper.Farrell could face a ban of six games, meaning England may be without the 31-year-old for all four of their group games at the World Cup.The 30-year-old impressed off the bench in the 19-17 victory over Wales, bringing a calm assurance to England’s play before kicking the winning penalty.Fly-half Marcus Smith started the first warm-up game – a 20-9 loss to Wales in which England struggled in the second half.Borthwick initially brought Ford back into England camp after a lengthy injury lay-off before the record defeat by France in this year’s Six Nations, indicating he was keen to use the fly-half once fully fit.Ford, who has been capped 83 times, was Borthwick’s main fly-half in his title-winning Leicester side in 2022 and has plenty of experience starting big Test matches at number 10, including the 2019 World Cup final defeat by South Africa.Line-upEngland: Steward; Watson, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly; Ford, Youngs; Genge, George, Stuart, Itoje, Ribbans, Lawes (capt), Earl, B Vunipola.Replacements: Dan, Marler, Sinckler, Chessum, Willis, Care, Smith, Lawrence

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