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Rugby World Cup | Third-Place Playoff
Oct 27, 2023 at 8pm UK
Cubelli (36'), Carreras (42')
Earl (8'), Dan (44')

Team News: Tom Curry, Marcus Smith start for England against Argentina

Team News: Tom Curry, Marcus Smith start for England against Argentina
© Reuters
England head coach Steve Borthwick makes eight changes to his side for Friday's Rugby World Cup third-place playoff against Argentina, but Tom Curry keeps his place.

Steve Borthwick has made eight changes to his starting XV for Friday night's Rugby World Cup third-place playoff against Argentina, but flanker Tom Curry retains his place in the team to win his 50th cap.

Curry has found himself at the centre of controversy this week after claiming that he was racially abused by South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi during last weekend's agonising one-point semi-final defeat.

World Rugby have announced that they will investigate the allegations, but Borthwick has deemed Curry available to play in England's 2023 Rugby World Cup swansong despite any off-field distractions.

Marcus Smith is recalled at full-back as Freddie Steward switches to the wing and Johnny May drops out, with Henry Arundell returning to the lineup on the other wing.

There is also a first start of the tournament for England's most-capped player of all time Ben Youngs, who will make his 127th and final appearance for his country at scrum-half after confirming that he will retire from international duty after the tournament.

Courtney Lawes has also confirmed that he will end his England career at the end of the World Cup, but he has already played his last game for his country after being left out of the 23-man matchday squad entirely.

Ollie Chessum will instead start alongside Maro Itoje at lock, taking the place of George Martin in the second row, while Sam Underhill is handed a first 2023 World Cup outing.

Borthwick has also named an entirely new front row, with Ellis Genge, Theo Dan and Will Stuart all in line to start the match.

"After the disappointment of last weekend's game against South Africa, it is important that this Friday we once again play with the determination and dedication that so nearly earned the team the result we wanted," Borthwick told reporters.

"The bronze final gives us a great opportunity to finish the tournament on a positive note, continue to build for the future, and to give our supporters one last chance to get behind the squad out here in Paris.

England head coach Steve Borthwick before the match on September 9, 2023© Reuters

"The players are looking forward to the challenge against what will be a strong Argentina side. "

England have already faced Argentina once at this year's tournament, overcoming Curry's red card after only three minutes to dig out an impressive 27-10 victory thanks largely to the boot of George Ford.

Ford has to make do with a place on the bench this time around, though, with captain and all-time leading points-scorer Owen Farrell once again preferred at 10.

Friday will be England's second taste of a bronze-medal match at a Rugby World Cup, having previously been beaten by France in the 1995 equivalent.

England starting XV: Smith; Steward, Marchant, Tuilagi, Arundell; Farrell (c), Youngs; Genge, Dan, Stuart, Itoje, Chessum, Curry, Underhill, Earl

Replacements: George, Rodd, Cole, Ribbans, Ludlam, Care, Ford, Lawrence

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