Lewis Ludlam to start for England against Japan

Lewis Ludlam has been given the nod over Billy Vunipola by Steve Borthwick
©Northampton Saints

England have included Lewis Ludlam in the starting line up for their second Rugby World Cup game against Japan to be played on Sunday.

Ludlam will replace Tom Curry from the side that defeated Argentina with the latter serving a two-game suspension following his red-card incident in the previous game. He will be backed up by Billy Vunipola on the bench with the Saracens star completing his two game ban after he was sent-off in the warm-up game against Ireland.

Also returning to the starting line up are props Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler at the expense of Ellis Genge and Dan Cole respectively. Genge though will provide impact from the bench. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum continue their second row partnership but Ben Earl shifts to openside flanker to accommodate Ludlam.

George Ford will continue to start at fly-half with Owen Farrell still unavailable due to a ban with Elliot Daly and Jonny May at wings and Freddie Steward at fullback. Steve Borthwick has also retained his faith with the midfield combination of Joe Marchant and Manu Tuilagi while Alex Mitchell replaces Ben Youngs at scrum half with the latter placed on the bench.

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Jonny May, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Alex Mitchell; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Ollie Chessum, 6 Courtney Lawes (c), 7 Ben Earl, 8 Lewis Ludlam.

Reserves: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 George Martin, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Ollie Lawrence.