Morgan gets nod for England

Date published: September 14 2015

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England have named an unchanged starting XV for their Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji, with Ben Morgan preferred over Billy Vunipola at eight.

There is one change on the bench where Rob Webber comes in for Jamie George but otherwise it's the same 23 that beat Ireland just over a week ago.

Ben Youngs will pick up his 50th cap as the Leicester Tigers scrum-half, first capped in 2010, lines up for the opening game of the 2015 tournament.

"The squad is massively excited to start the World Cup. Everyone has worked incredibly hard over the last three months and we are ready," said England head coach Stuart Lancaster, whose side are second favourites for the Cup.

"Friday will be a great occasion for the whole squad and for the country. We are in a unique position to be playing in a World Cup on home soil and to have the support of a nation behind the team. That support will be a massive factor and we don't underestimate its importance.

"All the players have put their hand up in training and the internationals we have played this summer and we are blessed to have such a strong squad to select from against a skilful and powerful Fijian side.

"I'd like to congratulate Ben Youngs on his achievement. To win 50 caps for your country in such a relatively short period of time is testament to Ben’s dedication and commitment."

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sam Burgess.

Date: Friday, September 18
Venue: Twickenham
Kick-off: 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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