England pick Marchant for Italy match despite World Cup omission

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England have selected from outside their World Cup squad for Friday’s final warm-up match against Italy by naming Joe Marchant at outside center in a “mix-and-match selection”.

Marchant is not in the 31-man squad bound for Japan on September 8 but slots into the midfield alongside Piers Francis, with captain Owen Farrell starting the final warm-up fixture at fly-half.

Two further players not picked for Japan 2019 are present on the bench in lock Charlie Ewels and flanker Matt Kvesic.

Ruaridh McConnochie finally makes his debut on the right-wing after two aborted attempts in the doubleheader against Wales due to hip and hamstring injuries.

The Bath sevens specialist forms a rapid back three alongside Anthony Watson and Leicester flyer Jonny May.

Henry Slade has lost his battle with a knee injury and misses the last opportunity to get some game time before the World Cup and Ben Youngs is given another run at scrum-half.

Star number eight Billy Vunipola will make his fourth start of the campaign. Mark Wilson makes his first start of the summer at openside flanker and Tom Curry is given another run at six.

“We have gone with a mix-and-match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation,” said England coach Eddie Jones.

England have enjoyed a promising World Cup warm-up series, with a win against Wales at Twickenham and crushing victory over Ireland only slightly offset by a narrow defeat in Cardiff.

Italy complete the four fixtures in the nation’s first outing at St James’s Park, two days before the squad set off for a pre-tournament training camp in Miyazaki.

“We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday night,” said Jones. “Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan.”

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