Ford named as England skipper for Wales Test

Fly-half George Ford will captain England against Wales in their first World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham.

Fly-half George Ford will captain England against Wales in their first World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham.

The 26-year-old has a 100 per cent win record from his two matches as England skipper so far and will be hoping he can lead his side to another victory against the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam champions.

Willi Heinz will make his Red Rose debut alongside Ford at halfback, while Ruaridh McConnochie – who has only played one season in the XV game since converting from Sevens – is also included for the first time on the wing.

Anthony Watson – who scored three tries to help England to Grand Slam glory in 2016 – makes his first Test appearance since March 2018, while Luke Cowan-Dickie comes in for his first start for the national side in 12 matches.

Ellis Genge and Dan Cole will start either side of Cowan-Dickie in the front row, while Joe Launchbury and Charlie Ewels are named in the second row.

Sam Underhill – who has been named vice-captain alongside Heinz – joins Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola in the back row, Henry Slade and Piers Francis will begin in midfield, and Elliot Daly starts at fullback.

There are a number of fresh faces on the bench, with Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marchant and Jack Singleton all poised to make their first senior England appearances.

Elsewhere among the replacements Joe Marler features after reversing his decision to retire from international duty, while Harry Williams, George Kruis, Ben Youngs and Joe Cokanasiga complete the 23.

Eddie Jones said: “We have completed our four weeks of pre-season training and now we have moved into four weeks of warm up games ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

“Our focus has now changed to match preparation and fitness and creating a game that will stand up to the rigours of the tournament where we have to win seven games in seven weeks.

“Our team selection and tactics in our next four games are all about developing a team capable of winning in Japan and our overarching target of being ready when we get on the plane on September 8 to win the World Cup.

“We are looking forward to playing at Twickenham and giving the home crowd something to smile about.”

Captain Ford said: “This week we have had some great prep coming off the back of a great 12 days in Treviso where we did a lot of hard work in the heat and in the humidity out there.

“To get back here and have a game at the end of the week is great and we have turned our focus to tactically how we want to play the game, what we want to look like defensively and how we want to play with the ball in hand as well.

“We want to be adaptable and we keep on challenging ourselves in training to do that.”

England team to face Wales, Sunday August 11 (KO 14:00)

15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 30 caps) 14. Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped) 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps) 12. Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 4 caps) 11. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 33 caps) 10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps) C 9. Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped) VC

1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps) 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps) 3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps) 4. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 58 caps) 5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 10 caps) 6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 10 caps) 7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps) VC 8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)


16. Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped) 17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps) 18. Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps) 19. George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps) 20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, uncapped) 21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps) 22. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, uncapped) 23. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)