Tom Curry has been picked to start despite
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Tom Curry will start England’s Rugby World Cup bronze medal match against Argentina despite being subjected to threats and abuse after alleging that South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi used a racial slur against him.
Curry accused Mbonambi of calling him a “white c***” during England’s semi-final defeat last Saturday, with a World Rugby investigation into the allegation ongoing.
While England have insisted that the flanker is getting all the support he needs, head coach Steve Borthwick has elected not to take him out of the firing line for Friday’s third-place playoff.
Curry starts in a dynamic back row alongside number eight Ben Earl and fellow flanker Sam Underhill, who will play his first minutes of the World Cup after being called up to England’s squad following an injury to Jack Willis.
Ben Youngs starts at scrum half in what could be a farewell appearance at international level for England’s most-capped male player.
Ben Youngs will make his 127th appearance at scrum half
There is no place in the matchday 23 for Courtney Lawes, though – the veteran forward confirmed that he would be retiring from international duty after this tournament, and has played his final England game.
“After the disappointment of last weekend’s game against South Africa, it is important that this Friday we once again play with the determination and dedication that so nearly earned the team the result we wanted,” said Borthwick.
“The bronze final gives us a great opportunity to finish the tournament on a positive note, continue to build for the future, and to give our supporters one last chance to get behind the squad out here in Paris. The players are looking forward to the challenge against what will be a strong Argentina side.
“Our support from the many England fans, both at home and from those who have travelled to France to watch the team play, has been nothing short of fantastic. We are incredibly grateful to have your backing and on behalf of the entire England team I would like to thank you all once again”.
Borthwick’s side includes a new-look front row, with Ellis Genge and Theo Dan promoted having been named on the bench last week and Will Stuart brought in on the tighthead. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum reunite as the lock partnership.
Captain Owen Farrell partners Youngs in the halves, while Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant, who will be ineligible for selection after this tournament due to a move to Stade Francais, continue in the centres.
Henry Arundell (left) and Marcus Smith will combine in the back three
Freddie Steward shifts to the wing to accomodate Marcus Smith, fit again after clearing return to play protocols after a head injury, at full-back in an exciting back three that also includes Henry Arundell.
England team to face Argentina at the Stade de France (Friday 27 October, kick off 8pm BST)
15. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 29 caps)
14. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps)
13. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 25 caps)
12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 58 caps)
11. Henry Arundell (Racing 92, 9 caps)
10. Owen Farrell – captain (Saracens, 111 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 126 caps)
1. Ellis Genge – vice-captain (Bristol Bears, 57 caps)
2. Theo Dan (Saracens, 6 caps)
3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 32 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 75 caps)
5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 49 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 29 caps)
8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 24 caps)
16. Jamie George (Saracens, 84 caps)
17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 4 caps)
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 106 caps)
19. David Ribbans (Toulon, 9 caps)
20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 24 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 95 caps)
22. George Ford – vice-captain (Sale Sharks, 90 caps)
23. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 20 caps)
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