Alex Mitchell. Alamy Stock Photo

Mitchell named at scrum-half for England, fit-again Faletau starts for Wales

England face Argentina on Saturday, with Wales taking on Fiji on Sunday.

ALEX MITCHELL HAS been named at scrum-half in a surprise call by coach Steve Borthwick for England’s World Cup Pool D opener against Argentina in Marseille this weekend [Saturday, KO 8pm].

Mitchell was a late call-up to the England squad after Jack Van Poortvliet was ruled out with injury.

Danny Care is named on the bench, with the vastly experienced Ben Youngs missing out on the match-day 23 altogether.

Courtney Lawes is named captain at blindside flanker and is joined in the backrow by Tom Curry on the openside and Ben Earl at No.8.

In the front row, vice-captain Ellis Genge starts at loosehead prop with Jamie George at hooker and Dan Cole on the tighthead.

Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum are paired at lock, while Mitchell will team up with George Ford at half-back.

Manu Tuilagi partners Joe Marchant in midfield, with Jonny May and Elliot Daly filling the wingers’ spots and Freddie Steward at full-back.

Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, George Martin and Lewis Ludlam make up the forward replacements, while Care is joined by Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence amid the backs hoping to make an impact should they run out at Stade Velodrome.

Argentina coach Michael Cheika has named an experienced side for the game. Agustín Creevy will play his fourth Rugby World Cup having been named on the bench, with fellow hooker Julian Montoya captaining the run-on XV.

When he takes to the field, Creevy will join Mario Ledesma Arocena, Felipe Contepomi and Martin Scelzo as the only Argentines to have played in as many World Cup tournaments.

Nine players in the starting team have World Cup experience.

Argentina have lost all three of their previous World Cup pool matches against England: 39-10 in 2019, 13-9 in 2011 and 24-18 in 1995.

And England have only lost five times to Argentina in 25 matches in total, although Los Pumas ran out 30-29 winners at Twickenham last month in their most recent encounter.

Meanwhile, Taulupe Faletau will make his first Wales appearance since last season’s Six Nations after recovering from injury to feature against opening World Cup opponents Fiji.

The 100 times-capped number eight missed Wales’ entire World Cup warm-up schedule because of a calf muscle problem, but he goes straight into the starting line-up for Sunday’s Pool C clash in Bordeaux [KO 8pm].

Skipper Jac Morgan and Aaron Wainwright join Faletau in the back-row, but Morgan’s co-captain Dewi Lake does not feature in the matchday 23.

Lake suffered a knee injury during Wales’ encounter against England at Twickenham last month.

England (v Argentina):

  • 15. Freddie Steward
  • 14. Jonny May
  • 13. Joe Marchant
  • 12. Manu Tuilagi
  • 11. Elliot Daly
  • 10. George Ford
  • 9. Alex Mitchell
  • 1. Ellis Genge 
  • 2. Jamie George 
  • 3. Dan Cole
  • 4. Maro Itoje
  • 5. Ollie Chessum
  • 6. Courtney Lawes (captain)
  • 7. Tom Curry 
  • 8. Ben Earl


  • 16. Theo Dan
  • 17. Joe Marler
  • 18. Will Stuart
  • 19. George Martin
  • 20. Lewis Ludlam
  • 21. Danny Care
  • 22. Marcus Smith
  • 23. Ollie Lawrence

Argentina (v England): 

  • 15. Juan Cruz Mallia
  • 14. Emiliano Boffelli
  • 13. Lucio Cinti
  • 12. Santiago Chocobares
  • 11. Mateo Carreras
  • 10. Santiago Carreras
  • 9. Gonzalo Bertranou
  • 1. Thomas Gallo
  • 2. Julian Montoya (captain)
  • 3. Francisco Gómez Kodela
  • 4. Matias Alemanno
  • 5. Tomas Lavanini
  • 6. Pablo Matera
  • 7. Marcos Kremer
  • 8. Juan Martin Gonzalez


  • 16. Agustín Creevy
  • 17. Joel Sclavi
  • 18. Eduardo Bello
  • 19. Guido Petti Pagadizabal
  • 20. Pedro Rubiolo
  • 21. Rodrigo Bruni
  • 22. Lautaro Bazan Velez
  • 23. Matías Moroni 

Wales (v Fiji):

  • 15. Liam Williams 
  • 14. Louis Rees-Zammit
  • 13. George North
  • 12. Nick Tompkins
  • 11. Josh Adams
  • 10. Dan Biggar
  • 9. Gareth Davies
  • 1. Gareth Thomas
  • 2. Ryan Elias
  • 3. Tomas Francis
  • 4. Will Rowlands
  • 5. Adam Beard
  • 6. Aaron Wainwright
  • 7. Jac Morgan (captain)
  • 8. Taulupe Faletau


  • 16. Elliot Dee
  • 17. Corey Domachowski
  • 18. Dillon Lewis
  • 19. Dafydd Jenkins
  • 20. Tommy Reffell 
  • 21. Tomos Williams
  • 22. Sam Costelow
  • 23. Rio Dyer

With reporting from AFP.

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