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England to name team on Monday

England have taken the unprecedented step of bringing forward their team announcement for Saturday's World Cup warm-up game against France to Monday.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster was scheduled to name his starting XV for the first of the three matches building up to England 2015 on Thursday, but the revised plan will see the side named 72 hours earlier. No reason has been given for the change.

Lancaster has already indicated he will field a strong team against France at Twickenham while also examining some fringe contenders for his final 31-man World Cup squad, which must be submitted by August 31.

Centres Sam Burgess and Henry Slade are thought to be in line to make their international debuts, while it has been reported that Tom Wood will captain the side as England test their contingency plan in the case of injury to regular skipper Chris Robshaw.

Seven days later the tournament hosts head to Paris before completing their programme of warm-up games against Ireland at Twickenham on September 5.

It is only in this final Test that England will field their strongest team as they seek to build momentum ahead of the World Cup curtain raiser against Fiji on September 18.


From Belfast Telegraph