England pick Marchant for Italy match despite World Cup omission

Eddie Jones (AP)
Eddie Jones (AP)

London - England have selected from outside their World Cup squad for Friday's final warm-up match against Italy by naming Joe Marchant at outside centre in a "mix-and-match selection".

Marchant is not in the 31-man squad bound for Japan on September 8 but slots into the midfield alongside Piers Francis, with captain Owen Farrell starting the final warm-up fixture at flyhalf.

Two further players not picked for Japan 2019 are present on the bench in lock Charlie Ewels and flanker Matt Kvesic.

Ruaridh McConnochie finally makes his debut on the right wing after two aborted attempts in the double header against Wales due to hip and hamstring injuries.

The Bath sevens specialist forms a rapid back three alongside Anthony Watson and Leicester flyer Jonny May.

Henry Slade has lost his battle with a knee injury and misses the last opportunity to get some game time before the World Cup and Ben Youngs is given another run at scrumhalf.

Star number eight Billy Vunipola will make his fourth start of the campaign. Mark Wilson makes his first start of the summer at openside flanker and Tom Curry is given another run at six.

"We have gone with a mix-and-match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team's ability to cope with any situation," said England coach Eddie Jones.

England have enjoyed a promising World Cup warm-up series, with a win against Wales at Twickenham and crushing victory over Ireland only slightly offset by a narrow defeat in Cardiff.

Italy complete the four fixtures in the nation's first outing at St James's Park, two days before the squad set off for a pre-tournament training camp in Miyazaki.

"We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday night," said Jones. "Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan."

Italy coach Conor O'Shea has made 11 changes to the side who were thumped 47-17 by France in Paris last week, with flanker Jimmy Tuivaiti included despite not being in the World Cup squad.

Dean Budd gets the captain's armband with veteran Sergio Parisse rested for the Italians' final World Cup warm-up.

Braam Steyn, Simone Ferrari, Jayden Hayward and Mattia Bellini are the only players retained.

Kiwi-born Budd is joined by David Sisi in the second row with Sebastian Negri in the back row with Steyn and Tuivaiti.

Gloucester scrumhalf Callum Braley will make his first Azzurri start at No.9 alongside Carlo Canna, with Tommaso Benvenuti and Giulio Bisegni in midfield.

"We'll face one of the strongest teams in the world in a match that represents a new step in our preparation for the Rugby World Cup," said coach Conor O'Shea.

Italy will play reigning world champions New Zealand, former winners South Africa and Canada after starting their Pool B campaign against Namibia on September 22.

Teams:

England

15 Anthony Watson, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Mark Wilson, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Joe Cokanasiga

Italy

15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Benvenuti, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd (captain), 4 David Sisi, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Nicola Quaglio

Substitutes: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Alessandro Zanni, 21 Maxime Mbanda, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Tommaso Allan.

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