Australia fly-half Matt Toomua said he was surprised by England head coach Eddie Jones' decision to drop George Ford to the bench for the World Cup quarter-final in Oita on Saturday.
Ford has started for England in all the three World Cup games but now has dropped to the bench with Jones preferring Owen Farrell at fly-half while Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade have been slotted at inside and outside centre respectively.
“A little bit, yeah,” Toomua said on hearing the decision from England camp.
“Both teams have decided to have the Leicester 10s come on in the second-half, but yeah, a little bit (surprised).
“He has been brilliant the last couple of years. But teams nowadays really are using that 23 (match-day squad) mentality, particularly at the World Cup.
“We just spoke about it before in terms of the finishers, and the role they play. You are probably talking 20 or 30 minutes now, which is a good chunk of the game, and the game is often in the balance at that time.
“You can assume that George will come on and pick the pace.
“Go back to 2016, I think George started off the bench in Brisbane (against Australia), and when he came on it completely changed. I think that was after 30 minutes.
“They have the ability to play quite a few ways and I am sure George coming off the bench will lift the pace.”
Both Toomua and Ford were part of Leicester Tigers before the Wallabies star returned to Australia in the 2019 Super Rugby season when he signed a deal with Melbourne Rebels.