Owen Farrell Marchant to start England warm-up game despite not being in World Cup squad

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By Chris Jones

BBC rugby union correspondent

Owen Farrell Joe Marchant (centre) in action during training with England

The inclusion of Marchant (centre) raises questions over the fitness of Jonathan Joseph
Rugby World Cup warm-up: England v Italy
Venue:St James’ Park, NewcastleDate:Friday 6 SeptemberKick-off:19:45 BST
Coverage:Live on BBC Radio 5 Live with highlights on BBC Two at 23:05 BST

Harlequins centre Joe Marchant will start England’s final warm-up match against Italy on Friday despite not being part of the World Cup squad.

Marchant is alongside Piers Francis in the midfield in what is described as a “mix and match selection strategy”.

Ruaridh McConnochie will finally make his debut on the wing and joins Jonny May and Anthony Watson in the back three.

Billy Vunipola makes his fourth start of the campaign at number eight.

“We have gone with a mix and match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation,” explained head coach

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