Youngs, who will make his 90th starting appearance for his country on Sunday, will partner Ford in guiding the side around the park after the Tigers fly-half was named in the No10 shirt.
Ford's selection sees England skipper Owen Farrell included at inside-centre alongside Tuilagi in the England midfield.
Elliot Daly has been given the first shot in the fullback role with Anthony Watson on the right wing and Tigers speedster May making up the English back-three.
Speaking ahead of the tournament opener, England head coach Eddie 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.
“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 STARTING XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 33 caps), 14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 36 caps), 13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps), 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 73 caps) C, 11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 47 caps), 10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 59 caps), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 89 caps); 1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 62 caps), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 40 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 25 caps), 4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 75 caps), 5 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 29 caps), 6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 13 caps), 7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 10 caps), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 45 caps)
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 15 caps), 17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps), 18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 89 caps), 19 George Kruis (Saracens, 35 caps), 20 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 2 caps); 21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 4 caps), 22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps), 23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 42 caps
The match kick's off at 1915 local time (1115am UK time) and is live on ITV Sport.
Tigers supporters can watch the lads in action from Japan among fellow Leicester fans at the club's historic home, Welford Road, throughout the 2019 World Cup. Former England international and recently retired Tigers star Mat Tait will provide expert analysis of this Sunday's match ahead of kick-off, as well as during half-time and following the full-time whistle, exclusively for those in attendance.
Entry is FREE for all supporters. To register your place CLICK HERE.