Mako Vunipola Rugby World Cup 2019: George Ford booted for Owen Farrell as England change up

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George Ford has been sensationally dropped for England’s World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Oita tomorrow, with captain Owen Farrell reverting to first five-eighths in one of three surprise personnel changes to the side that defeated Argentina.

England head coach Eddie Jones said the changes were to ensure his side could “defend with brutality”, seemingly a direct response to the physical threat posed by Wallabies powerhouse centre Samu Kerevi.

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Henry Slade, sidelined for much of the northern summer with a knee injury, comes in for his first start of the tournament to resume his partnership with Manu Tuilagi to bolster the physicality of the backline.

There are two changes to the pack as well, with Mako Vunipola, deemed fit enough after a long-term hamstring problem, returning to the starting XV ahead of Joe Marler while Courtney Lawes, the Northampton second row, replaces George Kruis.

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