Marcus Smith, who missed England’s World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa with concussion, starts at full-back for Friday’s Bronze Final against Argentina; he is joined in a back three with Henry Arundell and Freddie Steward on the wing; Courtney Lawes misses out on the 23
Last Updated: 25/10/23 12:40pm
Marcus Smith returns at full-back for England’s Bronze Final against Argentina on Friday, while Courtney Lawes is a surprise omission, as Steve Borthwick makes eight changes to the side that lost the Rugby World Cup semi-final to South Africa.
In the back three, Smith is joined by Henry Arundell on the left wing and Freddie Steward moving to right wing. Owen Farrell again captains the side, with Ben Youngs – England men’s most capped player of all time – starting his first game of the tournament at scrum-half.
A new-look front row sees vice-captain Ellis Genge return to the starting line-up to pack down with Theo Dan at hooker and Will Stuart at tighthead.
England’s 2023 Rugby World Cup
|October 21 (Semi-finals)||England 15-16 South Africa|
|October 15 (Quarter-finals)||England 30-24 Fiji|
|October 7 (Pool D)||England 18-17 Samoa|
|September 23 (Pool D)||England 71-0 Chile|
|September 17 (Pool D)||England 34-12 Japan|
|September 9 (Pool D)||England 27-10 Argentina|
The second-row partnership sees Maro Itoje link up with Ollie Chessum. In the back row, Sam Underhill is named on the openside flank to make his first appearance of the World Cup.
Tom Curry, who will win his 50th England cap on Friday night, moves to the blindside with Ben Earl rounding off the scrum at No 8.
There is no spot for the retiring Lawes, the 34-year-old not adding to his 103 career caps as he is also not listed among the replacements.
Borthwick said upon naming his squad: “After the disappointment of last weekend’s game against South Africa, it is important that this Friday we once again play with the determination and dedication that so nearly earned the team the result we wanted.
“The Bronze Final gives us a great opportunity to finish the tournament on a positive note, continue to build for the future, and to give our supporters one last chance to get behind the squad out here in Paris.
“The players are looking forward to the challenge against what will be a strong Argentina side.”
England team for bronze final
15 Marcus Smith, 14 Freddie Steward, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Henry Arundell, 10 Owen Farrell (c) 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Theo Dan, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Ollie Chessum, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Ben Earl
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Dan Cole, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Ollie Lawrence.