Marcus Smith will start at fly-half for Saturday’s Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham in place of captain Owen Farrell.
Smith has been given the duty of leading the team despite seeing limited action as a substitution against Italy and Wales.
The decision to make this starter is the most important of head coach Steve Borthwick’s career.
Ellis Genge, a prop, will become the new captain.
Smith should have replaced Farrell, according to Woodward.
The players chosen to face our opponents are, once more, a reflection of what Borthwick believes to be the ideal personnel balance for the challenge we confront in this game.
“Owen Farrell will captain the team after coming off the bench to open the game.
“I think having such strong fly-halves puts me in an excellent position. It was the proper call to start Marcus and bring Owen on at the very end of this game.
“As usual, Owen has been outstanding. Whatever his position on the squad, he leads it superbly.
“Ellis Genge is a natural leader, and people respect and look up to him. Ellis will take the initiative and lead with the commitment and spirit that have come to represent this England team.
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Steward, Malins, Slade, Lawrence, Watson, Smith, Van Poortvliet, Genge (captain), George, Sinckler, Itoje, Chessum, Ludlam, Willis, and Dombrandt are the members of the England team.
Walker, M. Vunipola, Cole, Ribbans, B. Curry, Mitchell, Farrell, and Arundell are the replacements.
France’s starting lineup is as follows: Ramos; Penaud; Fickou; Danty; Dumortier; Ntamack; Dupont (captain); Baille; Marchand; Aldegheri; Flament; Willemse; Cros; Ollivon; and Alldritt.
Mauvaka, Wardi, Falatea, Taofifenua, Macalou, Lucu, Moefana, and Jaminet are the replacements.
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Farrell, who has 104 caps for England and has won three British and Irish Lion awards, was last left out of a full-strength England team before the beginning of the 2015 World Cup.
Since then, he has consistently played either fly-half or center, leading the team since the 2018 South Africa tour.
Borthwick gave the Saracens talisman his complete support when he named him captain for the Six Nations season in January, despite the fact that his performance in an England jersey has been patchy over the past few seasons.
With Smith at fly-half, Farrell opened the tournament at inside center against Scotland before switching back to the number 10 jersey for the victories against Italy and Wales.
Replacement When Borthwick sent Smith back to his club Harlequins during the fallow week, it seemed as though he had dropped down the pecking order, especially with George Ford’s return to fitness and his brief appearances against Italy and in Cardiff.
Yet after shining in Harlequins’ victory over Exeter, Smith has made a spectacular comeback to the starting XV and will likely be playing in the biggest game of his career with Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade.
Farrell said on Tuesday, “He played incredibly well and it felt like he came back with a spring in his step, which is wonderful for us.
This season, there have been questions about Farrell’s usually accurate goalkicking. Against Wales, he missed four out of his six efforts.
That has been an emphasis in training, but one that tries to avoid overthinking things, which Farrell said may have contributed to the initial issue.
“I don’t believe I have lost my ability to kick. So, trying not to think too much is definitely key.
Farrell responded that he was happy to do “whatever the team needs” when asked about his role earlier in the week.
The world’s top team, Ireland, will be waiting in Dublin on the last day, therefore England must defeat France to remain in the Six Nations title race.
France, ranked second in the world, has made three changes from the team that defeated Scotland in their previous match.
Dorian Aldegheri, who took over for the suspended Mohamed Haouas at tighthead prop, will go up against Genge in the scrum, and Francois Cros will start at six in place of the hurt Anthony Jelonch.
Jonathan Danty will start at inside center for the first time in the Six Nations, and Yoram Moefana will move to the bench.