Rugby World Cup 2019: Manu Tuilagi rested by England for USA clash as Eddie Jones rings the changes

Only five of the players who started the opening win over Tonga will begin in Kobe on Thursday

Manu Tuilagi, right, celebrates with teammate George Ford after scoring his second try against Tonga in their Rugby World Cup opener on Saturday. Getty
Manu Tuilagi, right, celebrates with teammate George Ford after scoring his second try against Tonga in their Rugby World Cup opener on Saturday. Getty

England coach Eddie Jones has opted to rest Manu Tuilagi for Thursday's World Cup match against the United States, as he makes 10 changes the lineup that beat Tonga 35-3 in their Pool C opener in Sapporo.

Skipper Owen Farrell will also be on the bench with only full-back Elliot Daly, fly-half George Ford, No 8 Billy Vunipola, flanker Tom Curry and prop Joe Marler retaining their places for the game at Kobe Misaki Stadium.

Joe Cokanasiga, who has been struggling with a knee injury, and fellow winger Ruaridh McConnochie will make their World Cup debuts and look to stretch the Americans, with Jones hoping his side takes better care of the ball than they did against Tonga, when a series of handling errors and penalties sapped their momentum.

Tuilagi, who scored two tries against Tonga in a man-of-the-match performance, is getting back to his best after a string of injuries curtailed his England appearances over the last few years.

Dan Cole will join Luke Cowan-Dickie and Marler in the front row to earn his 91st cap, tying Jonny Wilkinson for third on the men's all-time appearances list.

Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes have been replaced by Joe Launchbury and George Kruis in an all-new second row, while Willi Heinz gets the nod at scrum half, with new pairing Piers Francis and Jonathan Joseph in the centres.

"Our aim is to be a little bit tidier, particularly in our attack, we'd like to execute a little bit better," Jones said on Tuesday. "There was a lot of effort in our game on Sunday but not the execution."

Vunipola appeared in all of England's warm-up games and, despite being subjected to some fierce Tongan tackling, has been chosen by Jones to start against the United States.

"There's a risk him going out and eating Kobe beef tonight. We feel like it's much better he plays rugby than goes out and eats beef," said Jones.

"He loves playing rugby, the best way to keep him fit is to play him and he's an influential player in our team."

Published: September 24, 2019 02:40 PM

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