Farrell to be axed for Australia match, while Vunipola injured
England’s Owen Farrell is reportedly facing the drop for the match with Australia, with Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees set to start alongside George Ford, after coming on against Samoa and impressing after he replaced Farrell in the second half.
“Twelvetrees impressed me from the bench, he did well and brought good energy to the team,” coach Stuart Lancaster said.
“He’s worked hard on the feedback we gave him when he came back into camp and he’s a genuine prospect for us at 12.”
Billy Vunipola is also set to miss out after sustaining concussion against Samoa, as is Australia centre Tevita Kuridrani, in what will be the final fixture between the sides before they meet at the World Cup next year in Pool A.
“I’m sure both sides, in the back of their minds, will have one eye on it but this Saturday it is all about this game,” added Lancaster, whose side are 10/3 second-favourites with Coral to win the World Cup.
“What happened last week or what happens next week is irrelevant. When the World Cup comes around in 10 months’ time, both teams will be different.”
Lancaster has also called for his players to raise their game, from the performance in their last match: “We need to build on our performance against Samoa and learn the lessons from the previous two games,” he continued.
“Any team coming to Twickenham for the last game of their series, after a long hard season, will be highly motivated, I’m sure.”
Following Tom Wood’s omission against the Pacific Island side, the England coach has been impressed by the player’s attitude, and indicated a recall could be on the cards: “It often helps selection when you give someone an opportunity and then you have someone as competitive as Tom who never likes missing one minute of training, never mind one minute of international rugby.
“There was definitely a reaction from Tom in training and when he came on against Samoa. A fired-up and motivated Tom Wood is a pretty useful weapon to have in your armoury.”