Rugby

Slade named on England’s bench for World Cup final alongside Spencer and Cowan-Dickie

PLYMOUTH rugby star Henry Slade will start on the bench for England in Saturday’s World Cup final against South Africa in Yokohama.

Exeter Chiefs back Slade, who has played for Plymouth College, Ivybridge and Plymouth Albion, had come into the team for the quarter-final against Australia but has to make do with a ‘finishers’ role in the final with Eddie Jones sticking with George Ford at fly-half and Owen Farrell at centre.

Joining him on the bench for England’s biggest game in 12 years is fellow former dual-registered Albion player Luke Cowan-Dickie and ex-Ivybridge Community College pupil Ben Spencer.

Scrum-half Spencer, who also played colts rugby for Ivybridge RFC, had not be part of England’s original World Cup squad. The Saracens only flew out to Japan on Monday after Willi Heinz picked up an injury in the semi-final against New Zealand.

With two ex-players in the final squad, Ivybridge are planning a special World Cup breakfast at their club on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, England coach Jones is confident his team can overcome South Africa and win the World Cup for only the second time.

Jones said: “It has been a good week, the players have been together a while now so it’s less about the volume of training this week, it’s more about sharpening the sword.

“South Africa are a difficult opponent and we are going to have to fight really hard to win. We know the physical part of the game is going to be important and the players will go into this game well prepared knowing how we want to play. We will go and play with no fear.

“South Africa will probably play a similar type of game they have played all tournament so we need be good in the arm wrestle and when we have the opportunities to break the game up, we are then confident and composed enough to take them.”

ENGLAND STARTING XV

15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 38 caps)

14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)

13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 39 caps)

12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 78 caps) C

11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)

10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 64 caps)

9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 94 caps)

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 57 caps)

2 Jamie George (Saracens, 44 caps)

3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 30 caps)

4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 33 caps)

5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 80 caps)

6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 18 caps)

7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)

8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 50 caps)

REPLACEMENTS

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 20 caps)

17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 67 caps)

18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 94 caps)

19 George Kruis (Saracens, 40 caps)

20 Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks/ Newcastle Falcons 17 caps)

21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)

22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps)

23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 46 caps)

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