England make three changes for semifinal clash

PARIS — England have made three changes for the Rugby World Cup semifinal against South Africa on Saturday with Freddie Steward back at fullback and Marcus Smith left out of the matchday squad.

Steward is one of three changes from the team that defeated Fiji on Sunday, with Joe Marler and George Martin also starting.

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Steward comes in for Smith, who drops out of the 23, while Marler starts ahead of Ellis Genge and Martin gets the nod in the second-row in Ollie Chessum’s place.

Elsewhere Owen Farrell captains the team from fly-half.

“After an excellent few days preparation in Paris, we look forward to the challenge of playing the World Champions and number one ranked team in the world,” Steve Borthwick said.

“Through this tournament the team has progressed, with the players repeatedly finding a way to win, sometimes in challenging circumstances. We will once again need to be at our very best this weekend as we face an excellent team in South Africa.

“There is no doubt the players will truly relish the challenge of knockout rugby under the lights in Paris. These players will, as they have done in every game of this tournament, give absolutely everything in the semifinal to get the result we want.

“I also know that our supporters will once again be there in their thousands, playing their part in backing the team with a full voice. To all those who have travelled and to all those lending their support and encouragement from home, I say ‘thank you.'”

Starting XV: Freddie Steward, Jonny May, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Alex Mitchell Joe Marler, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, George Martin, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Ben Earl

Replacements: Theo Dan, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum, Billy Vunipola; Danny Care, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence.