Owen Farrell England shuffles backline for RWC quarterfinal vs Australia

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OITA, Japan (AP) — Owen Farrell has moved to flyhalf to replace George Ford and Henry Slade has been drafted into a reworked midfield combination with Manu Tuilangi among three changes to England’s XV to play Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

Mako Vunipola will return at loosehead in place of Joe Marler, and Courtney Lawes will start in the second row at the expense of George Kruis. Ford, Marler and Kruis were all included on the eight-man reserves bench.

Vunipola has recovered from a hamstring strain and will make his first start of the tournament. Billy Vunipola has overcome an ankle injury and will start at No. 8.

Farrell’s shift from 12 to 10 and Tuilanga’s move from outside to inside center to create a spot for Slade was done with defense in mind.

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