Former scrum-half Matt Dawson believes that England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, is on the verge of a significant decision as he contemplates benching George Ford for the crucial Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash against Fiji on Sunday.
According to insider information from RUCK, Borthwick is on the brink of making perhaps the most pivotal selection of his coaching career, as he is considering assigning Owen Farrell, the team’s captain, to the fly-half position for the Marseille match.
This move would see George Ford, who has been England’s leading point scorer in France thus far, taking a place among the substitutes.
“It’s a big call. Fly-half is such an important position,” Dawson told Sky Sports News on the Ford-Farrell debate.
“Owen Farrell obviously has some incredible strengths and influence on the England side around the training park. You hear a lot from players, former players, coaches about his influence in the classroom, on the training field.
“But then I suppose when it comes to the full fly-half for England, it’s George Ford. How he played against Argentina and Japan particularly. Total control, first time for a while England looked cohesive.
“So it’s a really big shout. It didn’t go particularly well last week against Samoa when they both played so I think probably the rumours are true that it will be one or the other playing at 10.
“My own view is that I think if you are playing against Fiji you’ve got to be able to score some tries. I probably would go with Ford, but I think where Borthwick is going to go is with Farrell.”
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Expected England team to play Fiji:
15. Freddie Steward
14. Jonny May
13. Joe Marchant
12. Manu Tuilagi
11. Elliot Daly