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Eddie Jones will rip up his England midfield once again to restore George Ford at fly-half and reunite him with Owen Farrell to face New Zealand on Saturday, and will give Jonny May every chance to prove his fitness for the Rugby World Cup semi-final.
Ford was dramatically dropped for the quarter-final victory over Australia as Farrell moved to fly-half and produced his best performance of the tournament to date, but the two childhood friends have been trusted to lead the line for England at the expense of Henry Slade.
Centre Slade pays the price for his mistakes against the Wallabies, although he did also contribute heavily to both of Jonny May’s tries.
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Ford’s return to the line-up reinforces the belief that he was dropped last weekend due to the threat of Australian centre Samu Kerevi, but with New Zealand expected to select Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue in the centre – two players who are more technically gifted than the batter-the-door-down approach of Kerevi – Jones believes Ford and Farrell will provide the key to picking the All Blacks apart.
Jones admitted after last weekend’s victory that the Ford-Farrell partnership remains at the forefront of his mind, having utilised the pairing for the wins over Tonga and Argentina in the pool stage as well as the record 57-15 win over Ireland in the World Cup warm-ups.
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