England and Chile arrive in Lille with very different aims for the rest of Rugby World Cup 2023.
Steve Borthwick’s side are looking to take a decisive third step in their aim to reach the knockout phase of the tournament. Chile’s overall ambitions may be more modest on their Rugby World Cup debut, but they’re no less important. They want to show they can compete with the very best in the world.
The big news among the 12 changes to England’s starting line-up in Lille is the return of captain Owen Farrell, after suspension, at 10. George Ford, scorer of 67 percent of England’s points so far, is on the bench, while Marcus Smith starts at 15, and Jack Willis gets his first start of the tournament.
A shock is unlikely, admittedly. But Chile made both Japan and Samoa work harder than they expected for their wins. They will be looking to cause England more than a few problems here.
Head coach Pablo Lemoine has made nine changes to his starting XV from their 43-10 loss to Samoa, with only Matias Dittus, Clemente Saavedra, Rodrigo Fernandez, Matias Garafulic, Domingo Saavedra and captain Martín Sigren retaining their places. Fullback Francisco Urroz, meanwhile, will make his Rugby World Cup debut - eight years after his first test appearance, against Brazil in 2015.
FIXTURE: England v Chile
GROUND: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (50,096)
KICK-OFF: 17:45 local time (GMT+2)
This is the first time the two sides have met on a rugby pitch.
Santiago Videla scored 32 points across two legs against the USA, including a nerveless late penalty in Glendale that ultimately secured Chile’s passage to RWC 2023. Videla had already kicked Los Cóndores to a play-off win over Canada nine months earlier, thus ending their opponents’ continuous presence at the tournament.
They have enjoyed memorable games since - against Japan and Samoa, here in France. But the ones that got them here will go down in Chile rugby annals.
KEY TALKING POINT
England’s playing style in France. Their two wins to date have not exactly set the rugby world alight. They’ve been pragmatic and effective, but hardly exciting. This is tournament rugby, and wins of any kind are much more useful than thrilling, edge-of-the-seat defeats. Even so, expect the 2019 finalists to look to put on more of a show here.
Owen Farrell v Rodrigo Fernandez. Chile’s Fernandez has been one of the revelations of the tournament so far - but now he faces his biggest challenge yet, against the England captain who is returning to action following suspension.
Fernández scored Chile’s first-ever World Cup try, less than six minutes into their first-ever World Cup match, against Japan in the opening block of games in this tournament. The South Americans added their second later in the same match, through Alfonso Escobar. Matias Dittus then got their third, six minutes into their second outing.
Jaco Peyper (South Africa). The qualified lawyer from Bloemfontein takes charge of his second Rugby World Cup match, after officiating at the opening game between France and New Zealand.
ENGLAND Marcus Smith; Henry Arundell, Elliot Daly, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins; Owen Farrell (captain), Danny Care; Bevan Rodd, Theo Dan, Kyle Sinckler; David Ribbans, George Martin; Lewis Ludlam, Jack Willis, Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Jack Walker, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Ollie Chessum, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Joe Marchant
CHILE Francisco Urroz; Cristobal Game, Domingo Saavedra, Matias Garafulic, Franco Velarde; Rodrigo Fernandez, Benjamin Videla; Salvador Lues, Augusto Bohme, Matias Dittus; Clemente Saavedra, Javier Eissmann; Martín Sigren (captain), Ignacio Silva, Alfonso Escobar
Replacements: Tomas Dussaillant, Vittorio Lastra, Inaki Gurruchaga, Pablo Huete, Thomas Orchard, Raimundo Martínez, Lukas Carvallo, Inaki Ayarza