Sir Clive Woodward is prepared to look past reports that Henry Arundell and Owen Farrell had a scrap in training at the World Cup and wants the pair to start together for England’s quarter-final clash against Fiji this weekend. Arundell is seen as one of the brightest talents in English rugby, but he’s had limited opportunities at this year’s World Cup.
Former England international Andy Goode sensationally suggested that Arundell’s latest snub in France was down to a ‘scrap’ he had with captain Farrell in training. England Rugby declined to comment on the claims from Goode when approached by Express Sport.
Arundell scored five tries in England’s demolition of Chile during the pool stage on his World Cup debut, but hasn’t played since. But Woodward, who led England to World Cup glory in 2003, believes the 20-year-old should start this weekend against Fiji.
He said: “[This] week I would have Marcus Smith at full-back, Arundell on one wing, Freddie Steward on the other, Tuilagi at 12 and Farrell at 10, Alex Mitchell at nine, although Danny Care made the tackle at the end of the match which won the game.” Woodward then went on to give a rundown on what the rest of his England line-up would look like.
He added: “One decision Borthwick can make is to bring Gloucester’s No 8 Zach Mercer into the squad, replacing the injured Jack Willis, as he can up the tempo. England are slow from 1 to 15. We have got some amazing players but I would be very serious about sending for Mercer, who is a quick back-rower, now there is a spot available.
“Kyle Sinckler and Ellis Genge should start at prop and I would be telling those guys: ‘You are going to play 80 minutes.’ Then, with Jamie George at hooker, England have got half a chance. They have got to go out and say they are going to score tries. It is knockout rugby and Fiji will be better than Samoa.
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“I would have Lawes in the second row, with Maro Itoje and a back row of Mercer at No 8, with Ben Earl at six alongside just to get some more pace into the whole thing.”
George Ford has arguably been England’s most consistent performer at this year’s World Cup, but he looks set to be dropped for the quarter-finals.
He was named man of the match against Argentina and Japan while Farrell was suspended.
But the England captain will reportedly be given the nod to start at fly-half with Marcus Smith also coming in at full-back in a bold pick from Steve Borthwick.
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