Jonny May starts against Fiji as injuries mount for Steve Borthwick
By Charles Richardson
Jonny May is a surprise inclusion for England’s final warm-up match, against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday, after Anthony Watson was ruled out of the World Cup.
The selection of May comes after the wing originally omitted from Steve Borthwick’s 33-player squad announced on Aug 7.
Alongside the loss of Watson, there are injury concerns over Henry Arundell, who has not featured since the 57th minute of the victory over Wales, and Elliot Daly who is also in a race to be fit for the World Cup opener against Argentina. May could therefore play a key role at the tournament, if he is officially named as Watson’s World Cup replacement on Monday.
In the back row, Tom Curry once again misses out on selection, meaning the flanker will head to France having not made an appearance under Borthwick. Ben Earl will start at No 8 in an England jersey for the first time after Billy Vunipola’s two-match ban, deputising for his Saracens team-mate as he did at the end of the club season. Earl, however, has only started one match at No 8 for his club in the past two seasons. Jack Willis starts his first warm-up at openside.
After having been recalled to the squad following the ankle injury to Jack van Poortvliet, Alex Mitchell will make his first start for England at scrum-half, with Danny Care among the replacements.
Theo Dan will start for the first time in an England jersey at hooker, with a return for Harlequins’ Jack Walker on the bench, while Leicester second row Ollie Chessum starts for the first time since March. Courtney Lawes will continue captaining the side from blindside flanker in the absence of the banned Owen Farrell. At fly-half, George Ford continues in the absence of the skipper.
In the midfield, Borthwick will unleash the heavy-hitting duo of Manu Tuilagi and Ollie Lawrence as a combination for the first time in an England jersey.
Freddie Steward continues at full-back as the only player in Borthwick’s squad to have started all four warm-ups, but as first reported by Telegraph Sport, England might look at using Marcus Smith as a deputy off the bench.