Selecting Joe Marchant for England’s final World Cup warm-up game is to preparing for possible injuries throughout the championship, down, says Steve Borthwick.
Despite not being named from the group heading to Japan, marchant has been named at outside centre for Friday’s match against Italy, live on Sky Sports.
Borthwick says the choice, in addition to that of Charlie Ewels and Matt Kvesic on the seat of Marchant, means any accident replacements that are late will have the benefit of time with the squad at the lead-up to the tournament.
“It places us in a very good place should, as history as shown, once we’re outside in the World Cup and need to call players up, these players have played together as recently as Friday,” Borthwick told Sky Sports.
The inclusion of Marchant sparked whispers which Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph may be trying hard to reach full fitness in time for England’s opening match – especially since Slade has not featured in some of the warm-ups – but Borthwick claims the coaching staff are delighted with the pair’s progress and weren’t ready to hurry back them.
“Sladey was about this area here yesterday training really well, running around about 100 per cent, so he is getting there,” explained the prior Saracens lock. “He was not very ready for this particular match, a tiny bit too early, but he’s not far away.
“JJ, he must be in full training so again not far away, he’s just was not really ready for this match .”
Borthwick added the players chosen for this weekend aren’t necessarily automatic call-ups in case of injury:”We do not have a standby list, we have got players that train us and train very well.”
Wondering if there were any concerns for center Manu Tuilagi, who’s part of their 23, Borthwick explained each player is assessed throughout the week to see if they’d gain from sport a break.
“Everybody prepares otherwise,” said Borthwick. “We look at every player individually; moments they’ve had, just how much we think they want, what they need to do, what is ideal for them. It’s only the choices we make.
“Billy [Vunipola] has trained very well but he thrives on playing, he loves the competition of the game. He wishes to stand out there, he wants the ball from his hands. He is playing really well and he’s got a smile on his face for this.”
What Eddie Jones called a”mix and match” selection, natural fetcher Tom Curry begins at blindside in Newcastle and Mark Wilson wears the No 7 jersey,” a movement Borthwick says is intended to help players adapt to playing different places when a match scenario requires it – as highlighted when Curry left the field injured in England’s game against Wales at Twickenham.
“At the start we had a plan, we had a couple of bangs to gamers and Tom went off early in that first game which meant we had to adapt our strategy,” said Borthwick.
“This is part of constructing that flexibility for different kinds of game programs we may want to playwith. We’ve got mixes.
“We know Tom is a world-class seven plus he played really well in recently. He’s played at seven so that it gives him time there.
“Wils has shown he wishes to have the ability to play seven, seven and eight for England which, when you return into World Cups, you need that versatility.”
View England vs Italy dwell on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 7pm

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