Rugby World Cup 2019: Eddie Jones ready to stick with George Ford for final as England receive haka fine

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Eddie Jones is prepared to stick with the midfield combination that ended New Zealand’s reign of dominance at the Rugby World Cup, though England’s plans for Saturday’s final against South Africa were hit with a setback on Tuesday after World Rugby fined them for their haka challenge.

George Ford is likely to keep his place at fly-half alongside Owen Farrell with Manu Tuilagi at outside centre, despite the Springboks’ power game likely to see Duane Vermeulen and Damian de Allende charging down Ford’s channel in a test of his defensive skills.

One other change being considered is whether to start Courtney Lawes in the second row alongside Maro Itoje or to bring in George Kruis in order to utilise the Northampton lock’s athletic ability in the latter stages of the game, when South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus will introduce his ‘Bomb Squad’ replacements to try and swing the final in the Springboks’ favour.

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Jonny May and Kyle Sinckler look set to retain their places in the squad, though their fitness will be managed as best as possible over the coming days ahead of the final in Yokohama after suffering thigh and calf issues respectively, but there are thought to be no fears over the fitness of captain Farrell.

However, England have been hit with a fine for their response to the haka ahead of the final, having been punished by World Rugby for crossing the halfway line before last Saturday’s semi-final.

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