Brodie Retallick England vs Tonga team news: Billy Vunipola starts as Eddie Jones fights fire with fire in World Cup opener

Brodie Retallick England vs Tonga team news: Billy Vunipola starts as Eddie Jones fights fire with fire in World Cup opener

Brodie Retallick This is one elegant extension!

England will turn to their own Tongan to plot the downfall of the Pacific Islanders with Billy Vunipola selected to start their Rugby World Cup opener on Sunday.

In a move to fight fire with fire, Eddie Jones will select the influential No 8 for the Pool C encounter with Tonga, the nation of Vunipola’s heritage, and it’s understood that the head coach is in line to also start with Joe Cokanasiga and Manu Tuilagi, meaning England will have players hailing from all three major Pacific Islands in their matchday squad.

Vunipola will start the World Cup clash nearly 20 years after father Fe’ao and uncle Elisi started against England in a 101-10 demolition that remains the red rose’s second-highest World Cup victory.

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The selection is in order for the trio to lead England’s destructive defence and try to give Tonga a taste of their own medicine, which assistant coach John Mitchell admitted he is relishing the prospect of.

“It really excites us, being brutal, and it is something we look forward to and what we are about,” the defence coach said. “It is something that we embrace and we really enjoy. It’s very important to our players as Englishmen, playing in that white jersey, to have that presence.

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