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Lawes and Mitchell to start England’s clash with Samoa

Courtney Lawes and Alex Mitchell have been named in the starting XV for England ahead of the side’s final pool match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup against Samoa this weekend. 

Head coach Steve Borthwick has made 14 changes to his England side that booked their place in the competition’s quarter-finals with a 71-0 win over Chile two weeks ago, with Lawes and Mitchell both coming back into the side for the clash at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille (Saturday 7 October, kick-off: 4.45pm (BST) live on ITV Sport).

Back rower Lawes – who will collect his 103rd cap in Lille on Saturday – is named as one of three vice captains for England as they look to go four wins from four in the pool stage, while Mitchell starts the game at scrum-half to add to his eight England caps to date. 

“Whilst we are of course pleased with our results and qualification into the pool stages, we want to continue our improvement with a positive performance against a difficult and in-form Samoa team,” said Borthwick.

“Samoa are renowned for their physicality and this last game in the pool stages will be an excellent test for us as we continue in our Rugby World Cup journey.  

“We are delighted to be heading back to Lille for this weekend’s fixture, where we enjoyed seeing so many England supporters for our last match. Once again, we look forward to seeing a sea of white England shirts in the stands of the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday.”

ENGLAND vs SAMOA
Saturday 7 October 2023
Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Kick-off: 5.45pm (local time)

15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps)
14 Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 22 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 55 caps)
12 Owen Farrell – captain (Saracens, 108 caps)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 75 caps)
10 George Ford – vice-captain (Sale Sharks, 88 caps)
9 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)

1 Ellis Genge – vice-captain (Bristol Bears, 54 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 81 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 103 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 72 caps)
5 Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes – vice-captain (Northampton Saints, 102 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)
8 Ben Earl (Saracens, 21 caps)

Replacements:
16 Theo Dan (Saracens, 6 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 85 caps)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 65 caps)
19 George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps)
20 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 72 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 92 caps)  
22 Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 27 caps)
23 Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)

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