24 Sep 2015

Burgess reportedly set to start

5:05 am on 24 September 2015

League convert Sam Burgess has reportedly earned his first start for England in Sunday's pivotal Rugby World Cup game against Wales.

England rugby international Sam Burgess.

England rugby international Sam Burgess. Photo: Photosport

English media are reporting that coach Stuart Lancaster will start with a centre partnership of Burgess and Brad Barritt, while Owen Farrell starts at first-five-eighths.

With centre Jonathan Joseph ruled out due to injury, Lancaster is set to play Farrell in place of George Ford and bring Burgess in at 13.

Farrell and Burgess would add ballast to the midfield but Joseph's pace and creativity could be missed by the hosts who beat Fiji 35-11 in their opening game without hitting top form.

Lancaster could have brought in Henry Slade as a straight replacement for Joseph but has decided the Exeter centre, who has only one cap, is not ready to face Wales in such an important game.

Billy Vunipola is set to be named at No.8 in place of Ben Morgan after impressing as a replacement against Fiji and scoring England's fourth try in the final minute.

Joe Launchbury, who also came on against Fiji and added pace and power to the forward pack, is also pushing for a recall in the second row ahead of Geoff Parling.

Lancaster will name his team on Thursday, UK time.

- Reuters

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