England shift Owen Farrell to centre for Tonga opener

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play Tonga in their opening game of the Rugby World Cup, with Owen Farrell starting at centre.

Farrell will captain the side with George Ford starting at 10 for the clash.

Manu Tuilagi is named at outside centre with Elliot Daly, Jonny May and Anthony Watson making up the back three.

England’s most capped scrum-half Ben Youngs will start in his 90th match for his country.

Jones has selected Joe Marler, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler in the front-row with Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje chosen as the lock pairing.

Tom Curry will start at blindside flanker with Sam Underhill at openside while Billy Vunipola is named at number eight.

Jones said: “The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well, our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too.

The @EnglandRugby side to face @officialTongaRU on Sun, at 19.15hrs (GMT+9) has been announced. What do you make of this team?#RWC2019 #ENGvTON #RWCSapporo pic.twitter.com/NvEInwxJpj

— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 20, 2019

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion. They are a side if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu. They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place. We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Date: Sunday, September 22 Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo Kick-off: 19:15 local (11:15 BST, 10:15 GMT) Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand) Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Shuhei Kubo (Japan) TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)