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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

England pick Lewis Ludlam over Billy Vunipola for Japan World Cup clash

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England on Friday named Lewis Ludlam in place of Billy Vunipola as their number eight for the Rugby World Cup Pool D clash with Japan after his impressive defensive stint against Argentina.

Vunipola has served his two-match suspension for a dangerous tackle against Ireland last month but will start on the bench in Nice in Sunday.

Ludlam, who made 11 tackles after coming on in the second half of the 27-10 defeat of the Pumas, replaces the suspended Tom Curry in the back row.

Curry is banned after his sending-off against Argentina for an illegal challenge.

Coach Steve Borthwick has drafted Kyle Sinckler and Joe Marler into the front row while Ellis Genge drops to the replacements.

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Dan Cole, who started against the Pumas, is out of the squad entirely.

Japan, the 2019 World Cup hosts, beat Chile 42-12 in their opener.

England (15-1)

Freddie Steward; Jonny May, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Lewis Ludlam, Ben Earl, Courtney Lawes (capt); Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler

Replacements: Theo Dan, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, George Martin, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence


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