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Five Tigers for final World Cup warm-up

Five Leicester Tigers players have been included in England’s matchday squad for their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Italy on Friday.

Ben Youngs, Jonny May and Dan Cole all start, with club mates Ellis Genge and George Ford both named among the replacements for the game at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

A mix and match selection sees Joe Marchant named at outside centre with Piers Francis at inside centre, while Owen Farrell captains the side from the No10 shirt.

Ruaridh McConnochie is set to win his first cap with a start on the right wing.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: “We are delighted to be playing against Italy, one of our traditional Six Nations rivals and the game for us is another important step to develop our game fitness and game strategy.

“We have gone with a mix and match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation.

“We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday night. Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan.”

The game is the first England Test match to be played at St James’ Park, which hosted three Rugby World Cup fixtures in 2015.

Jones added: “We are excited to be playing in Newcastle. We are playing at an iconic football ground and we know the area is an important one for rugby in the northern part of England.

“We are looking forward to seeing and playing in front of the fans.”

Kick-off from St James’ Park is scheduled for 7.45pm this Friday, September 6, with live coverage provided by Sky Sports.

England (v Italy, St James’ Park, Friday 7.45pm)

15 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 35 caps)
14 Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 2 caps)
12 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 7 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 46 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 72 caps) (c)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 88 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 61 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 39 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 88 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 60 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 74 caps)
6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 12 caps)
7 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks, 14 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 44 caps)

Replacements
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 11 caps)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 24 caps)
19 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 11 caps)
20 Matt Kvesic (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 58 caps)
23 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)