Ford makes England starting debut against Samoa

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has named his team to play Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday with George Ford making his first international start.

Twenty-one-year-old Bath fly-half Ford replaces Saracens flyhalf Owen Farrell who moves to inside centre.

Brad Barritt retains the number 13 jersey, the move sees Stuart Lancaster re-instate the midfield partnership that started his maiden game in charge back in February 2012 against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Elsewhere, Ford is partnered by his ex-Leicester Tigers colleague Ben Youngs at half back, while James Haskell of Wasps and Gloucester No.8 Ben Morgan replace Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) and Billy Vunipola (Saracens) in the back row.

Finally, Bath Rugby’s Rob Webber comes in at hooker for Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), with Billy Twelvetrees of Gloucester Rugby and Saracens scrum half Richard Wigglesworth joining the replacements for the first time this autumn.

After choosing his match-day 23 to halt a run of five consecutive defeats, England Head Coach Lancaster said: “Those selected have a great opportunity to show what they can do against what will be a highly motivated Samoa team.

“It’s great to give George a start in this series, having missed the summer tour through injury. He has been impressive in camp and now fully up to speed with the game plan and he is ready to run the game.

“Owen switches to 12 and I am sure will support George well. In the back row both James and Ben have been in great form and I am sure they will bring their physical presence to the game.

“Hooker is another competitive position and we believe Rob is ready for the start and will continue the progress he made on the New Zealand tour.”


15. Mike Brown , 14. Anthony Watson , 13. Brad Barritt , 12. Owen Farrell , 11. Jonny May , 10. George Ford , 9. Ben Youngs , 8. Ben Morgan , 7. Chris Robshaw , 6. James Haskell , 5. Courtney Lawes , 4. Dave Attwood , 3. David Wilson, 2. Rob Webber , 1. Joe Marler

Replacements : 16. Dylan Hartley , 17. Matt Mullan , 18. Kieran Brookes , 19. George Kruis , 20. Tom Wood , 21. Richard Wigglesworth , 22. Billy Twelvetrees , 23. Marland Yarde ,

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