Courtney Lawes to win 100th cap in England’s final World Cup warm-up against Fiji

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Courtney Lawes will win his 100th cap for England as Steve Borthwick’s side face Fiji in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up.

The blindside flanker will again captain the team in the absence of Owen Farrell, who was given a four-match ban on Tuesday.

In the absence of Billy Vunipola, who is also suspended, Ben Earl slides over to start at number eight with Jack Willis brought into the back row on the openside.

Borthwick has opted to pair Ollie Lawrence and Manu Tuilagi in a midfield high on carrying potential, while livewire hooker Theo Dan makes a first start in a side containing nine changes from the team that started against Ireland.


“We couldn’t be prouder of Courtney on achieving his incredible milestone after 14 years of excellent performances for his country,” Borthwick said of his captain, who is set to become England’s fifth male centurion.

“It has been a privilege to watch his journey and witness him develop into a truly outstanding rugby player. Not only is Courtney an exceptional talent and an excellent professional, he is also a brilliant role model for young players every time he steps onto the field.”

Lawes retains the captaincy of a side that again features George Ford at fly half.

Jonny May, who did not make the World Cup squad of 33, starts on the wing while Ollie Chessum steps up to the starting side in the second row after making his return from a long injury lay-off in Dublin last weekend.

Having been called up as an injury replacement for Jack van Poortvliet last week, Alex Mitchell starts at scrum half while hooker Jack Walker is in line for his first appearance of the summer from the bench after overcoming an injury issue.

“After another eventful and dramatic encounter against the number one team in the world in Dublin last weekend, we are delighted to be back at Twickenham with our home supporters to welcome an in-form Fiji team,” said Borthwick.

“All of the Summer Nations Series Test matches have provided us with an opportunity to continue our preparations for the Rugby World Cup in France. Fiji have proven themselves to be a strong opposition and we look forward to what we expect to be an exciting and challenging game. Rest assured that we will be looking to convert the opportunities we have recently been creating week-on-week into points on the scoreboard.

“At this our last Test before heading to France, I want to thank our fans for all the support you continue to give us, and it means a lot to us that you will be behind us all the way on our World Cup journey.”

England have so far suffered two defeats from three warm-up fixtures ahead of the tournament, falling to a 27-9 defeat to Ireland last Saturday.

Borthwick’s side begin their World Cup against Argentina in Marseille on Saturday 9 September.

England team to face Fiji at Twickenham (Saturday 26 August, kick off 3.15pm BST)

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 25 caps)

14. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 20 caps)

13. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)

12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 52 caps)

11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 72 caps)

10. George Ford – vice-captain (Sale Sharks, 84 caps)

9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)

1. Ellis Genge – vice-captain (Bristol Bears, 51 caps)

2. Theo Dan (Saracens, 2 caps)

3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 101 caps)

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 69 caps)

5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)

6. Courtney Lawes – captain (Northampton Saints, 99 caps)

7. Jack Willis (Toulouse, 12 caps)

8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 17 caps)


16. Jack Walker (Harlequins, 3 caps)

17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 81 caps)

18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 28 caps)

19. David Ribbans (Toulon, 7 caps)

20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 20 caps)

21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 89 caps)


22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 23 caps)

23. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 18 caps)

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