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Owen Farrell England make surprise pick of Joe Marchant for Italy warm-up clash even though Harlequins centre is NOT in the World Cup squad
- England have drafted Joe Marchant into squad to face Italy due to injury crisis
- Marchant is in with Henry Slade out, while Jonathan Joseph is also absent
- Marchant is not part of World Cup squad so is unlikely to be involved in Japan
- Ruaridh McConnochie is in line to make his debut for England against Italy
By Nik Simon for MailOnline
Published:03:33 EDT, 4 September 2019|Updated:05:53 EDT, 4 September 2019
England have been forced to dip into their non-World Cup reserves and select Joe Marchant amidst a midfield injury crisis.
Marchant was drafted into the squad following an injury to Henry Slade but, with Jonathan Joseph also absent, he will now make his first Test start against Italy on Friday.
With 16 days until the tournament starts, England have selected a new-look midfield pairing with Piers Francis partnering Marchant in the centres.
England have called up Harlequins’ Joe Marchant to face Italy amid a midfield injury crisis
Marchant was not selected in the 31-man squad so the warm-up Test is likely to be his final involvement before the squad fly to Japan on Sunday.
He will be joined by a hot-footed back-three featuring debutant Ruaridh McConnochie, winger Jonny May and full-ba
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