Mako Vunipola England drop Ford as Farrell starts at 10

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Meanwhile, England have sprung a major surprise for their World Cup quarter-final against Australia by dropping George Ford and naming Owen Farrell at out-half.

Ford has been superb as playmaker-in-chief since his restoration at 10 during the warm-up series for Japan and started all three group games in the position, but he is confined to a bench role for the Oita Stadium showdown.

Instead, Farrell will pull the strings as coach Eddie Jones reverts to his first choice midfield from the Six Nations, in which England’s captain played inside centres Henry Slade and Manu Tuilagi.

The decision has shades of the World Cup four years ago when Ford was dropped for the pivotal group game against Wales in favour of Farrell, who on that occasion formed a heavyweight trio alongside Sam Burgess and Brad Barrett.

Jones has made three changes in personnel and two positional switches in pursuit of a semi-final against either New Zealand or Ireland.

Mako Vunipola is restored at loosehead prop after successfully making his latest comeback from a hamstring injury against Argentina, England’s last outing after their Pool C finale against France

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