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Possible England centre partnerships against Wales

Published 22/09/2015

Jonathan Joseph is an injury doubt for England
Jonathan Joseph is an injury doubt for England

England's preparations for their crucial World Cup clash with Wales have been hampered by a chest injury to Jonathan Joseph.

The midfield will be one of the key battlegrounds at Twickenham on Saturday and, here, Press Association Sport examines the centre combinations available to head coach Stuart Lancaster.

OWEN FARRELL/BRAD BARRITT

Pairing the Saracens team-mates together in midfield would give England a hard edge in defence, offering security against Welsh battering rams Jamie Roberts and Scott Williams. It is a limited attacking axis, however, with Farrell more playmaker than runner and Barritt favouring a direct approach with the ball in hand.

BRAD BARRITT/SAM BURGESS

A Barritt-Burgess pairing offers colossal physical presence but little in the way of guile or subtlety. Barritt's defensive quality is highly valued by England and it would be up to Burgess to supply the fireworks in attack, a role he performed as a replacement against Fiji. Starting against Wales is a different matter, however.

BRAD BARRITT/HENRY SLADE

The least likely of the three combinations outlined here, the management will have misgivings over whether Slade is ready for a match of this magnitude. The 22-year-old fizzed with promise on his debut against Ireland, demonstrating the vision that has been a hallmark of his club game, but he would be targeted by Wales' power runners.

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