Rugby

England recalls George Ford for semifinal against New Zealand

AP

Flyhalf George Ford has been recalled by England in the only change to its starting lineup for the Rugby World Cup semifinal match against New Zealand on Saturday.

Ford’s return sees Owen Farrell move across to inside center and Henry Slade drop to the bench for the game in Yokohama.

In the sole switch among the replacements, Mark Wilson replaced fellow flanker Lewis Ludlam when the team was announced Thursday.

It is an attacking change by England coach Eddie Jones, with Ford more expansive at No. 10 than Farrell.

Farrell reunites with Manu Tuilagi in a powerful-looking midfield.

Jonny May recovered from what England called a “twinge” to his hamstring to take his place on the left wing.

No. 8 Billy Vunipola wins his 50th cap for England, the 2003 champion which is playing in the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 2007.

“New Zealand is a great team — they have an impressive winning record since the last Rugby World Cup,” Jones said, referring to the All Blacks’ 84 percent win ratio over the past four years. “Like any good team, you have to take away time and space from them and you have to find areas you can pressure them. We believe we have identified a number of areas where we can do that.”

“The squad,” Jones added, “has approached the game well with real maturity. It has helped having players here who have been on the Lions tour and played against New Zealand. They have been involved in some of the biggest games in world rugby so this semifinal won’t faze them.”

England lineup

Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola. Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, George Kruis, Mark Wilson, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph.

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