England have produced a mixed bag at the tournament so far, as a disastrous set of warm-up games were somewhat washed away by a surprisingly impressive win over Argentina in their opener, with a retro drop goal strategy from the boot of George Ford stunning the Pumas in a 27-10 win.
A fairly dismal opening 40 minutes in their second game against Japan followed, as the attack failed to click, and although they pulled away from their opponents late on, it was a largely ugly 34-12 triumph. However, they did secure the four-try bonus point and are in complete control of Group C with nine points from a possible 10.
Underdogs Chile, competing at their first World Cup, now await in the third round of action and Steve Borthwick’s men will be expecting a comfortable victory to all but secure a quarter-final spot with a game to spare. Borthwick is expected to ring the changes as he announces his team for the contest in Lille, with skipper Owen Farrell set to return from his red-card ban at fly half, Marcus Smith to start at full back and Henry Arundell potentially coming in on the wing.
Follow live coverage of the announcement below, while you can get all the Rugby World Cup odds here.
England team announcement latest updates
Captain Owen Farrell returns from his ban and looks set to start at fly half
Steve Borthwick names England team to face Chile
England coach explains approach vs Chile
England cannot afford to ‘sleepwalk’ into Chile game, warns Ollie Chessum
18:30 , Imogen Ainsworth
After two fixtures in the south of France, England will make a shorter trip from their Le Touquet training base across the north of the country to Lille for their third Pool D fixture on Saturday.
World Cup debutants Chile are, on paper, the weakest of the five nations in the pool, but the South Americans have caused problems for Japan and Samoa in their opening two matches in France.
How England can solve the Owen Farrell and George Ford problem
18:15 , Imogen Ainsworth
For Steve Borthwick, it is a problem of plenty. In George Ford, Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith, the England head coach has three high-class fly halves – the question for the remainder of this Rugby World Cup is how best to utilise them.
Borthwick describes Billy Vunipola’s impact
18:00 , Imogen Ainsworth
“He's a great influence in the squad,” he said about the Saracens player. “Whether he is on the field or not, he's a brilliant influence. He's played in the very biggest games. I thought he did well last week and has trained even sharper this week."
Farrell describes his time away from being in the playing team and being a bad watcher
17:50 , Imogen Ainsworth
"I don't detach myself at all. I'm knackered by the end,” the captain said. “I wouldn't describe myself as a good watcher - I feel involved and every emotion that goes with it, sometimes even more so than if I was playing. I wouldn't say I am unbelievably loud, it's more the emotion of the game. I feel like I go through it all the time."
Farrell: “We always want to improve"
17:40 , Imogen Ainsworth
"I'm excited to play for this team. We are in a brilliant position as we stand here and we want to kick on. I want to be part of it,” Farrell said, eager to get back on the pitch.
"I think we have played very good, winning rugby. The team has figured out ways to impose themselves on the game and figured out how to close off games, which is a big plus. We always want to improve, there is always stuff you can do better. We are excited to get into it. Talking about the past, we are trying to deal with what is here now. In the first two games, we've figured out good ways to win the game,” he added.
Borthwick: “We’ve got to defend very well and give them no space"
17:30 , Imogen Ainsworth
"When you look at the team this weekend, you see a team packed full of talent. It's got pace. This is a very good England squad packed full of players who know how to play smart rugby and win games,” Borthwick said.
"In terms of Chile, what we see is an incredibly committed team. They try to keep the ball alive. We've got to defend very well and give them no space. We have seen progression over this period of time and I am pleased with the way the team are building and looking forward to that next step on Saturday."
Farrell: “I can’t wait to be back”
17:20 , Imogen Ainsworth
“It’s been tough-ish not playing but it has been brilliant seeing what the lads have been doing and I can’t wait to be back,” Farrell said.
“Marcus is obviously a fantastic player. Everybody knows what a talent he is. Hopefully we can link up and get each other involved in the game. There are many different ways of doing that and hopefully having him on the field seeing space will go well,” he added.
Borthwick looks ahead to Farrell’s return and Smith’s first start at 15
17:10 , Imogen Ainsworth
"We are all tremendously excited to see our captain on the grass on Saturday. He's been an incredible leader and fantastic influence over the last two weeks. He's been a role model on and off the training field and I'm looking forward to seeing him lead the team out on Saturday,” the head coach said.
"He's [Smith] came on in three appearances off the bench for us at 15 and done well for us. He's a talented player who finds space. I'm pleased with the way the squad is building into this tournament and progressed over the last two weeks."
Borthwick’s thoughts after Japan
16:52 , Imogen Ainsworth
After England’s win against Japan, Borthwick spoke of the prospect of Farrell returning to the team given Ford’s impressive performances of late. He said: "You describe it as a problem. I describe it as a fantastic squad of players that I have the privilege to work with, strength in depth across the squad. I think a lot of countries would look on it in an envious manner.
"We build towards Chile next Saturday. I expect there to be another huge English contingent in the crowd. Those supporters out there were outstanding. We are very fortunate to have them.”
He also spoke of the limited time the coaching team and players have had together before the tournament.
"I think that having the full coaching team together for this summer has been an opportunity for us to work as hard as we can to make ground quickly,” he said.
"You've seen strides in some of the fundamental aspects of the game. You've seen growth in our attack. It's always the way that you build the fundamentals through defence, your kicking game, your set-piece and your breakdown, and the attack always takes the longest to come because it takes cohesion.
"Some [coaching] teams have had eight years with the same coaching team to build through that and we’ve had three or four months with our full coaching team in place.
"We're working exceptionally hard every day to move forward."
England team to face Chile
16:30 , Imogen Ainsworth
Steve Borthwick has named his team to face Chile on Saturday. Marcus Smith starts at fullback as Owen Farrell returns from his suspension to captain the side at flyhalf as expected. George Ford, England’s star player in the opening rounds and player of the match in both of their pool matches so far moves to the bench to make way for Farrell.
Borthwick has made 12 changes to the side that beat Japan 34-12 at Stade de Nice last Sunday. Two of the four try scorers from last week Lewis Ludlam and Joe Marchant are named in the team with Ludlam starting and Marchant on the bench. Freddie Steward and Courtney Lawes, last week’s captain in the absence of Farrell, are omitted from the team. Bevan Rodd and Theo Dan are given their first RWC starts.
England team: 15. Marcus Smith, 14. Henry Arundell, 13. Elliot Daly, 12. Ollie Lawrence, 11. Max Malins 10. Owen Farrell (capt.), 9. Danny Care, 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Theo Dan, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. David Ribbans, 5. George Martin, 6. Lewis Ludlam, 7. Jack Willis, 8. Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Jack Walker, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Ollie Chessum, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Joe Marchant
“One of the many great things about the Rugby World Cup is that the tournament provides an excellent opportunity to play against teams that we rarely have a chance to see. It is for that reason that we are particularly looking forward to testing ourselves against Chile on Saturday,” said Borthwick.
“Having watched our next opponent closely, we know that we will have to prepare and play well against a committed Chile team.
“As we head to the next round, it is only right that I once again pay tribute to our excellent supporters who I know will be right behind us in Lille this weekend.”
Attack coach Richard Wigglesworth
16:25 , Imogen Ainsworth
After England’s win over Japan on Sunday evening, attack coach Richard Wigglesworth shared his thoughts with the press.
He said: “We knew that the first two games were huge. Japan, after what they did in 2019, and Argentina beating us in the autumn. Two big tests out of the way.
“You’ve never met Steve Borthwick (head coach) if you think we are going to be allowed to relax. It’s time for us to push as when you get those two wins it gives us a real chance to improve over the next couple of weeks.
“We’ve got Chile this weekend, then we have a week without a game so we have two big weeks for us making sure that we grow our game.
“I am sure there will be some changes (for Chile) as the lads have played two big test matches on the bounce.
"We are not happy with where we are attack-wise and we are striving to improve. But that is not to do with the kicking game. It's not separate from it either. We want to kick the ball brilliantly so we get it back in a better position or we kick to score.
"As far as the booing goes, it's part and parcel of what you do in international sport. You are in the biggest arenas and fans are entitled to do what they feel is right. From my point of view, the fans have been exceptional.
"We will give them [Chile] absolute respect. It's international rugby and they've worked incredibly hard to get to this World Cup, beating the USA in the great fashion that they did. We have done our homework on them and we will make sure we push on this week."
England set to make changes for third pool fixture
16:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle
Bonjour et bienvenue to a rather soggy Lille, where the wet weather has come as a bit of a shock after a couple of sun-soaked weeks on the Cote d’Azur. England will confirm their side in little more than 15 minutes, and The Independent understands that Marcus Smith is set for a first career start at full back in a much-changed side. Steve Borthwick is believed to be keen to give opportunities to his wider squad after two weeks of twiddling thumbs - a World Cup debut for Bevan Rodd, for example, almost certainly awaits.
George Kruis returns to England camp
15:57 , Imogen Ainsworth
Former England player George Kruis has returned to England camp for the World Cup to work on the lineout, as he has done previously in the Six Nations and Summer Series fixtures. Kruis works with the players and coaches to analyse the lineout, providing added insight from his perspective as a former player.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 21, 2023
Three changes for Argentina in team to play against Samoa
15:49 , Imogen Ainsworth
Argentina head coach Michael Cheika has also made three changes to his team that will face Samoa with experienced centre Matías Moroni earning his third start of the year. Agustín Creevy, who has been named on the bench, will move to second all-time in appearances and play in his 17th World Cup match if he is used. The two other changes to the starting team are forwards Eduardo Bello and Guido Petti who start in the front-row and second-row.
Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Matías Moroni, Santiago Chocobares, Mateo Carreras, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou, Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya (c), Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Matias Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez
Replacements: Agustín Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Francisco Gómez Kodela,Pedro Rubiolo, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Cubelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Lucio Cinti
Samoa team to play Argentina
15:34 , Imogen Ainsworth
Elsewhere in pool D, Samoa will face Argentina on Friday 22nd. Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua has made one change in the backs and two in the forwards from the team that beat Chile 43-10. Ben Lam starts on the wing, Paul Alo-Emile comes into the front-row, and Brian Alainu’u’ese into the second-row. Fullback Duncan Paia’aua is the only player in the squad to have played every minute of the 2023 World Cup for Samoa so far, and he returns to the starting lineup.
Samoa: Duncan Paia'aua, Nigel Ah-Wong, Ulupano Junior Seuteni, Tumua Manu, Ben Lam, Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine, James Lay, Seilala Lam, Paul Alo-Emile, Brian Alainu'u'ese, Chris Vui (c), Theo McFarland, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua.
Replacements: Sama Malolo, Charlie Faumuina, Michael Alaalatoa, Taleni Junior Agaese Seu, Sa Jordan Taufua, Melani Matavao, Alai D'Angelo Leuila, Danny Toala
South Africa vs Ireland team news
15:30 , Karl Matchett
South Africa’s Rugby World Cup Pool B clash with world number one side Ireland in Paris on Saturday is as big as it gets according to captain Siya Kolisi, while coach Jacques Nienaber knew their 7-1 bench “innovation” would get a negative response.
Ireland are on a run of 15 straight victories and beat the Springboks 19-16 when they met in Dublin in November, with this battle likely to decide the top team in the group in France.
“We took a lot from the last match we played against them,” Kolisi told reporters on Thursday. “And both teams are playing well, so this is a good time to face them.
“We want to play nice, competitive rugby and I believe the match will be tough and played in a good spirit. This is as big as it gets.”
The breakdown battle and discipline are two areas Kolisi and Nienaber believe will go a long way to deciding the outcome of the contest.
“The breakdowns are going to be big. They have a lot of players who are effective in that department and I think that will have a big influence on the game,” the Bok skipper said.
Nienaber added: “If you concede penalties against a team like Ireland they’ll either get territory or points, so they’ll put us under pressure. We must be disciplined to get the right result.”
The Boks raised eyebrows when they selected seven forwards on the bench, which has promoted an outcry from some pundits as being against the spirit of the game.
It is an attempt to make the Boks effective in the forwards, especially at the breakdown and with quick ruck ball, for the full 80 minutes.
“Innovation in any sport will trigger a reaction,” Nienaber said. “This is the first time it’s been done in rugby and that will come with a positive and negative reaction, but nothing is stopping other teams from doing it.
“It would be a sad day if innovation is stopped, especially when it is within the laws.”
Both teams were comfortable winners in their opening two games in the pool and are expected to advance to the quarter-finals, where they will likely face hosts France or New Zealand in a stacked side of the draw.
Ireland team news
15:08 , Reuters
Ireland coach Andy Farrell has named an unchanged pack with a 5-3 split between forwards and backs on the bench for the crunch Rugby World Cup Pool B clash with South Africa in Paris on Saturday.
Johnny Sexton will lead the team from flyhalf alongside scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park, who is the only change from the side that defeated Tonga 59-16 in their previous game.
Mack Hansen and James Lowe will be the two wings, Hugo Keenan is at fullback and Bundee Aki will win a 50th cap at centre as part of a midfield that also includes Garry Ringrose.
The forward pack remains unchanged with Ireland not responding to South Africa’s 7-1 split on the bench and sticking to the gameplan that has seen them win their last 15 tests in a row.
Storti replaces banned Pinto in Portugal team to play Georgia
15:04 , Reuters
Portugal have made four changes, one enforced by the two-match ban handed to winger Vincent Pinto, for their second Pool C match against Georgia in Toulouse on Saturday.
Pinto was shown a red card for kicking Wales’s Josh Adams in the head while jumping to catch a high ball in the 28-8 opening loss to the Welsh in Nice.
Raffaele Storti will replace Pinto on the right wing outside Pedro Bettencourt, who comes in for Jose Lima in the centres in the other change to the backline.
Up front, Jose Madeira reclaims his starting spot in the second row from Martim Belo after being a late withdrawal from the Wales match.
Coach Patrice Lagisquet also swapped his starting and finishing tighthead props with Diogo Hasse Ferreira coming into the front row and Anthony Alves dropping to the bench.
Number eight Rafael Simoes retains his place at the back of the pack after having a citing for a dangerous tackle against the Welsh dismissed by the judiciary during the week.
Georgia beat Portugal 38-11 in the Rugby Europe Championship final in March.
Georgia retain World Cup ambitions beyond Portugal match
15:02 , Reuters
Georgia coach Levan Maisashvili said the Lelos still have World Cup ambitions beyond beating Portugal in Toulouse on Saturday in a clash between the strongest European teams from outside the Six Nations.
The match has been billed as the battle for fourth place in Pool C behind Wales, Fiji and Australia but Maisashvili said there was plenty still to play for despite Georgia’s opening loss to the Wallabies.
“In a way it is a bit of a final, but it’s also just the beginning,” he told reporters in Toulouse on Thursday.
“We’ve only played one match, even if we lost it. Yes, it’s an important match against Portugal but we’re concentrating on our team.”
Maisashvili was able to recall Lyon loose forward Beka Saghinadze into a starting team featuring eight changes from the side that lost 35-15 to Australia at the Stade de France.
Saghinadze, who missed Georgia’s warm-ups and the Australia game through injury, slots into the back row at openside flanker in place of young gun Luka Ivanishvili, who scored the first of Georgia’s two tries against the Wallabies.
Flyhalf Tedo Abzhandadze and scrumhalf Gela Aprasidze will start in a new halfback partnership with regular playmaker Luka Matkava dropping to the bench.
“We were disappointed after Australia. We weren’t able to manage the game well and made tactical errors on a number of occasions, particularly with our kicking game,” Maisashvili added.
“There was a clear lack of discipline caused by our poor game management. In the second half we were able to get back into the game but couldn’t get the result we wanted.”
Centre Merab Sharikadze will captain the team for the 50th time on Saturday against very familiar opposition, the two teams having met in the final of the second tier Rugby Europe Championship in March.
The Lelos won that match 38-11 to claim a fifth straight title and Sharikadze said they had made improvements to their game since then.
“It’s true that our team have played a lot against Portugal, who have a similar style, but our style of play is much more balanced now,” Sharikadze added.
England set to unleash Marcus Smith experiment against Chile in Rugby World Cup
14:57 , Karl Matchett
Smith has filled the position as a second-half replacement in the last four Tests, adding an extra playmaker to the backline and providing a dynamic counter-attacking threat.
The Harlequins fly-half is now poised to make his first start at 15 as Steve Borthwick takes the opportunity to rotate his squad against the weakest opposition of England’s group campaign.
Owen Farrell has completed his four-match suspension for a dangerous tackle and is ready to make his first appearance since the illegal challenge against Wales on August 12.
Farrell is set to be reinstated at fly-half and resume as captain when Borthwick names his team for the Lille showdown on Thursday evening.
England vs Chile team announcement
14:23 , Luke Baker
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of England’s team announcement for their Rugby World Cup clash with Chile this weekend.
After two wins from two, England can all but qualify for the quarter-finals with a win over the South American minnows and captain Owen Farrell looks set to return to the starting XV following his ban.
Stick with us for full live coverage.