England head coach Steve Borthwick is facing a dilemma over how to reintegrate Owen Farrell into the squad after his suspension. Farrell, who was banned for a dangerous tackle, is eligible to be re-selected after missing the opening World Cup matches. However, with George Ford performing exceptionally well in his absence, it remains uncertain whether Borthwick will choose one or the other, or possibly use both players in the upcoming match against Chile.
England’s recent victories over Argentina and Japan have put them in a strong position to qualify for the quarter-finals. Borthwick sees the return of Farrell as an opportunity to rotate the team and rest some of the players who were involved in previous matches. Richard Wigglesworth, England’s attack coach, expressed his delight at having Farrell back in action and acknowledged his positive impact on the team’s spirit and intensity.
The question now is how to involve Farrell, who is primarily a fly-half, alongside Ford in the squad. Both players have the ability to play in the center, but they prefer to operate from the number 10 position. In the past, Ford has started at fly-half in important matches, such as the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, with Farrell partnering in the center. There is a debate as to whether playing Farrell could change the dynamic within the team, as Ford has been performing exceptionally well in recent matches.
Former England international Chris Ashton believes Ford should be England’s number 10 if they reach the knockout stages, as he has been named man of the match twice and has shown outstanding performances. If Farrell is selected at number 12, it would mean Manu Tuilagi remains at outside center, potentially resulting in Joe Marchant being left out of the starting lineup. There is also the question of Marcus Smith’s inclusion, as he has proven to be a valuable asset for England in the final stages of matches.
Despite the dilemma, Borthwick sees it as a sign of England’s depth and quality in the 10th and 15th positions. Other countries are envious of the choices England has in their squad. Borthwick will announce the team to face Chile on Friday, revealing his decision on how to reintegrate Farrell into the squad.