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Rugby World Cup 2019: Farrell and Ford to start for England against Tonga

Owen Farrell will start at inside centre and captain England as George Ford takes the place at fly-half for their Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga.

Farrell and Ford have battled for the number 10 spot for England, but Eddie Jones has opted to start both playmakers in Sapporo on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ben Youngs is set to make his 90th appearance for his nation in the Pool C clash.

England head coach Jones warned his team they would need to be at their best against Tonga.

“The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well, our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too,” he said on Friday.

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion.

“They are a side if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu. They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place.

“We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”

England: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Dan Cole, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph.

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