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12th Oct 2023

England fans ‘concerned’ as leaked team for quarter final emerges

Callum Boyle

England quarter final

England face Fiji in the quarter finals on Sunday

England coach Steve Borthwick has made some major calls ahead of the Roses’ Rugby World Cup quarter final tie against Fiji on Sunday.

While official team news isn’t out until later this week, The Telegraph have reported that fly half George Ford, who has been one of England’s star players in France, will be dropped to the bench in favour of the returning Owen Farrell.

Despite man-of-the-match performances against Argentina and Japan, Ford has been dropped to the bench in favour of Farrell. The Bath fly half was replaced with 30 minutes to go in the 18-17 win against Samoa last week.

Farrell will deputise at fly half while Borthwick is also set to deploy Marcus Smith at full back – a position he has only played once before at senior level.

Missing out on a place entirely is Leicester Tigers’ Freddie Steward while Joe Marchant will continue on the wing with Jonny May. Manu Tuilagi will start at inside centre with Elliot Daly at 13.

The big talking points ahead of the game are undoubtedly the calls to drop Ford and Steward, with fans less than impressed with the decision.


“Has Borthwick now completely lost his mind, I suspect it’s the Ego that Owen Farrell, has a hand in this. Farrell is not a patch on George as a fly half. Book the bus home now! Ford dropped for England v Fiji with Farrell and Smith to start,” wrote one fan.

A second said: “Borthwick is absolutely mental. George Ford should pack his bags and tell Borthwick to sling his hook,” with another replying: “If anyone should its Freddie Steward.

“Who would have thought at the start of this tournament that Freddie Steward wouldn’t be at 15 come the knock-out stages?” wrote another.

A fourth person said: “England coach brutally decides Rugby World Cup scapegoat as Owen Farrell call made . Borthwick will get England kicked out of the semi-finals by choosing Farrell over Ford. Farrell has proven he is not on form kicking or otherwise, he is too slow at reading events.”

England’s game against Fiji kicks off at 4pm on Sunday at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

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