Rugby World Cup: Burgess gets the call from England coach Lancaster

England have selected Owen Farrell at fly-half and Dewsbury’s Sam Burgess at inside centre for Saturday’s crunch World Cup showdown with Wales at Twickenham.

England's Sam Burgess

George Ford has been demoted as first-choice playmaker - a position held since last autumn - to make room for Farrell despite showing solid form during the warm-up matches and the 35-11 victory over Fiji.

England have completed a radical overhaul of their midfield after Jonathan Joseph was ruled out against Wales with a chest injury by picking Burgess and moving Brad Barritt to outside centre.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Farrell-Burgess-Barritt combination - the most muscular trio available to head coach Stuart Lancaster - has been chosen in anticipation of the looming gainline war at Twickenham.

The final change to the starting XV sees Billy Vunipola picked at No 8 after Ben Morgan lost his battle to recover from a knee problem.

England: M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), B Barritt (Saracens), S Burgess (Bath), J May (Gloucester); O Farrell (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), T Youngs (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), G Parling (Exeter), C Lawes (Northampton), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: R Webber (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Brookes (Northampton), J Launchbury (Wasps), J Haskell (Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), G Ford (Bath), A Goode (Saracens).

Wales: Liam Williams (Scarlets); G North (Northampton), S Williams (Scarlets), J Roberts (Harlequins), H Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons); D Biggar (Ospreys), G Davies (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Cardiff), S Baldwin (Ospreys), T Francis (Exeter), B Davies (Wasps), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), L Charteris (Racing 92), J Tipuric (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff), R Priestland (Bath), A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues).