MX23RW : Sunday, March 3 13:16:52| >> :600:751236:751236:
Rugby World Cup | Group Stage
Oct 7, 2023 at 4.45pm UK
Chessum (9'), Care (73')
Ah-Wong (22', 29')

Preview: England vs. Samoa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Rugby World Cup clash between England and Samoa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

England will be looking to keep their winning record in the 2023 Rugby World Cup intact when they face off against Samoa at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve-d'Ascq.

Pool D was arguably the most favourable in the competition, and England have taken full advantage of their draw, now guaranteed a place in the knockout rounds, while Samoa can only hope for the best this weekend.

Match preview

England's Marcus Smith scores their fifth try on September 23, 2023© Reuters

England's performance have been progressively improving in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, starting with a 27-10 victory over Argentina led by George Ford's boot, followed by a more challenging bonus-point win against Japan.

With two of the harder matches in the group in the bag, Steve Borthwick's side made no mistake against Chile in match three, beating the South Americans 71-0, led by an excellent performance from Henry Arundell, who scored five tries in the rout.

Arundell also grabbed a piece of history in that win over Chile, matching the record for the most tries scored by an English player in a rugby union Test match.

Even though his team have secured their place as table-toppers, Borthwick will insist on maintaining focus and delivering a strong performance against Samoa to maintain confidence and momentum heading into the knockout stages.

Awaiting them in the last eight will likely be Fiji, who are one win away from second place in Pool C, though if they fluff their lines, it will give Eddie Jones's Wallabies a second life in the competition.

Samoa's Sama Malolo celebrates with Sa Jordan Taufua after scoring a try on September 16, 2023© Reuters

While Samoa are not technically out of the tournament just yet, it will take an incredible sequence of events to see them sneak into second place in Pool D.

In order for the Samoans to progress, they will not only need to beat England by a 28-point margin but will also need second-placed Argentina and third-placed Japan to draw their match on Sunday evening.

Seilala Mapusua's side were left to rue their ill-discipline against Japan, and despite looking the better of the sides on the day, they were beaten with 14 men after Ben Lam's yellow card was upgraded to a red, while Jonathan Taumateine was also sent to the sin bin in the match.

Still, as long as there is still hope, we can be certain that Samoa will fight tooth and nail for every inch of grass in this match, and while a victory may be a big ask, they will want to bow out of the competition with at least a memorable performance.

England Rugby World Cup form:

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England form (all competitions):

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Samoa Rugby World Cup form:

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Samoa form (all competitions):

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Team News

Borthwick has named his starting lineup for this match, and for the first time under his leadership, we will see both Ford and Owen Farrell lining up in this one, with the latter wearing the captain's armband.

As a result, Marcus Smith drops to the bench for England, and Freddie Steward returns to the number 15 position, forming the back three with Joe Marchant on the right wing and Jonny May on the left.

Farrell will start in the number 12 position, alongside Manu Tuilagi at outside centre, marking Tuilagi's 56th Test cap on Saturday, though this is his first against the country of his birth and the team his five brothers represented.

Mapusua has rung the changes in his pack, which now features an all-new front three of Jordan Lay, Sama Malolo and captain Michael Alaalatoa, while Sam Slade and Brian Alainu'u'ese step into the second row.

Jonathan Taumateine and Lima Sopoaga will pair up in the halves for only the second time, having previously started together against Ireland in August, while Sama Malolo earns his second career start and first in the Rugby World Cup 2023.

England starting lineup: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Joe Marchant, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Owen Farrell (c), 11. Jonny May, 10. George Ford, 9. Alex Mitchell, 8. Ben Earl, 7. Tom Curry, 6. Courtney Lawes, 5. Ollie Chessum, 4. Maro Itoje, 3. Dan Cole, 2. Jamie George, 1. Ellis Genge

Replacements: 16. Theo Dan, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. George Martin, 20. Billy Vunipola, 21. Danny Care, 22. Marcus Smith, 23. Ollie Lawrence

Samoa starting lineup: 15. Duncan Paia'aua, 14. Nigel Ah-Wong, 13. Tumua Manu, 12. Danny Toala, 11. Neria Fomai, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 9. Jonathan Taumateine, 8. Steven Luatua, 7. Fritz Lee, 6. Theo McFarland, 5. Brian Alainu'u'ese, 4. Sam Slade, 3. Michael Alaalatoa (c), 2. Sama Malolo, 1. Jordan Lay

Replacements: 16. Seilala Lam , 17. James Lay , 18. Paul Alo-Emile , 19. Sootala Fa'aso'o, 20. Alamanda Motuga, 21. Melani Matavao , 22. Christian Leali'ifano, 23. Miracle Faiilagi

Head To Head

England have a perfect record against Samoa, having won all eight of their previous meetings, including at the 1995, 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Their most recent clash was during the 2017 autumn international series, which England won 48-14.

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We say: England 32-17 Samoa

England have relied heavily on their kicking game in this competition, and the combination of Ford and Farrell in this match can only improve them in that regard. Samoa are expected to give another whole-hearted performance, but we feel the Red Rose will have too much class.

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England's Jonny May scores their second try on June 19, 2022
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