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Rugby World Cup: England should ring the changes for Australia, says Brian O'Driscoll

By Duncan Bech

Brian O'Driscoll has urged England to restore George Ford at fly-half and pick Henry Slade at outside centre for Saturday's critical World Cup clash with Australia.

A 28-25 defeat to rivals Wales at Twickenham over the weekend has left the tournament hosts needing to dispatch the Wallabies to revive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

Failure to do so would see England become the first World Cup hosts to exit their own competition at the pool stage.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster was criticised for replacing Ford with Owen Farrell against Wales and picking Sam Burgess at 12 with Brad Barritt shifting to outside centre.

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Farrell performed well in the defeat, but former Ireland centre O'Driscoll insists he must make way for Ford and one-cap rookie Slade should be given the chance to rescue England at the expense of Barritt.

"From a player's perspective and an attractive rugby point of view, it would be brilliant to see George Ford back at 10 because he's a player's player," Ireland legend O'Driscoll said in his role as a pundit for ITV.

"Maybe keep Sam Burgess at 12 and have a go with Henry Slade at 13. If Jonathan Joseph isn't fit, throw Sam in. If you're going to go down, you might as well go down fighting.

"England have a bit of a conundrum because Australia like a loose game and would prefer to have it open.

"To negate that you need to play a very tight game against them.

"They'll probably play a very similar team to the one that beat Uruguay just to keep it nice and tight."

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