England were handed their fifth successive defeat in last weekend’s 31-28 defeat to South Africa and with Stuart Lancaster looking for his side to bounce back, the head coach has rung the changes ahead of this weekend’s clash with Samoa.
Oliver Yew looks at three men looking to take their chance in the starting line-up and who can give England impetus against the Pacific Islanders…
George Ford – Bath
The Bath fly-half finally gets his chance at Test level and starts for the first time when Samoa are the visitors to Twickenham.
With Owen Farrell moving inside to centre, Ford, who played outside the Saracens man in England’s successful under-20 World Cup campaign, has the chance to stake his claim for a regular starting spot ahead of next year’s Six Nations and World Cup by reigniting England’s misfiring attack.
To do that he must take his club form onto the highest stage and start getting the ball out to the likes of Jonny May and Anthony Watson on England’s wings.
Do just that and he will be pulling on the white number 10 jersey for the World Cup and years to come!
James Haskell – Wasps
The Wasps captain comes into the starting XV after a number of underwhelming displays by England’s back row unit.
World Cup winning former coach Clive Woodward has been calling for the 29-year-old’s inclusion for the last couple of weeks and now he gets his chance to shine in the place of Northampton star Tom Wood.
Haskell has been in exceptional form for his club and his pace and power will add a new dimension to Lancaster’s back row options and he will be determined to cement his place in the team for the clash with Australia.
Rob Webber – Bath
Dylan Hartley has performed well so far during this series but his yellow card against South Africa did halt England’s momentum in last weekend’s defeat at Twickenham.
While he is not being punished for his misdemeanor, Rob Webber fully deserves his chance at hooker after a number of outstanding performances in Bath’s pack.
With England’s lineout functioning well Webber’s throwing will have to be right up to scratch and if he can carry well in the loose his battle with Hartley for the number two jersey could go right down to the wire ahead of next year’s World Cup.
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