In the world of rugby, where legends are born and stories of underdogs prevail, Lewis Ludlam’s journey to the starting lineup in England’s clash with Japan at the Rugby World Cup is one for the books. Ludlam, a relatively new face on the England senior scene, has seized his moment in the spotlight with an energetic performance that earned him a well-deserved spot in the starting XV.
Ludlam’s rise to prominence began just before the last World Cup when he was named one of the four uncapped players in Eddie Jones’ squad for Japan 2019. Fast forward to today, and he finds himself at the heart of England’s quest for glory in France.
Last weekend’s win over Argentina served as Ludlam’s audition, and he didn’t disappoint. Coming off the bench in the 66th minute, he made a remarkable 11 tackles, showcasing his defensive prowess. As fate would have it, his impressive cameo paved the way for him to replace the suspended Tom Curry in the back row against Japan.
But Ludlam’s ascent is just one part of the puzzle. England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, has made a couple of strategic changes to the starting lineup. Kyle Sinckler and Joe Marler have been brought into the front row, injecting experience and stability into the pack. Ellis Genge, who started in the previous match, will provide valuable backup from the bench, while Dan Cole is omitted from the squad altogether.
The big headline, however, is the inclusion of Billy Vunipola on the bench. Vunipola, the sole specialist number eight in England’s squad, was sidelined due to a two-match ban after a red card incident in a warm-up match. Instead of opting for the obvious choice, Borthwick has taken a bold move by placing Ludlam at number eight, a position he knows well from his Six Nations performances. Ben Earl will join him as the open-side flanker, and Captain Courtney Lawes completes the formidable back row trio.
In the backline, the scrum-half position sees a subtle change with Ben Youngs preferred as the backup to starting scrum-half Alex Mitchell. Owen Farrell, England’s captain, will continue to watch from the stands as he serves the final match of his suspension.
George Ford, who has been handed the fly-half role in Farrell’s absence, gets another chance to stake his claim. His last England Test start prior to this tournament dates back to March 2021, but his performance against Argentina showed that he’s ready to step up to the plate.
The anticipation for the clash with Japan is building, and as Borthwick rightly pointed out, Japan is a side full of confidence following their comprehensive win over Chile in their opening fixture of the competition. Japan’s journey to the quarter-finals as hosts in the last Rugby World Cup is still fresh in memory, and they will be eager to repeat that feat.
Coach Jamie Joseph has called upon some seasoned veterans from the 2019 campaign to bolster his squad, including hooker Shota Horie, flanker Pieter Labuschagne, and captain and number eight Kazuki Himeno. Their experience will be crucial as Japan seeks to overcome their recent struggles against Six Nations and Rugby Championship sides.
As the stage is set in Nice, France, rugby fans are in for a treat. The clash between England and Japan promises to be a thrilling spectacle filled with passion, skill, and determination. Will Lewis Ludlam’s star continue to rise, or can Japan’s resurgence be the story of the day? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain – it’s a match you won’t want to miss in this Rugby World Cup extravaganza.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup
Q: Who is Lewis Ludlam, and why is he in the England rugby team for this match?
A: Lewis Ludlam is a rising rugby talent who earned his spot in the England rugby team due to his impressive performance in a recent match against Argentina. He made 11 tackles as a substitute and has been selected to replace the suspended Tom Curry in the back row.
Q: What other changes has England made to its starting lineup for this match?
A: England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, has made strategic changes, including bringing in Kyle Sinckler and Joe Marler to the front row. Billy Vunipola, usually the specialist number eight, is on the bench, and Ludlam will play at number eight. Ben Youngs is the preferred backup scrum-half, and George Ford takes on the fly-half role.
Q: How does Japan’s team look for this match, and what is their recent performance history?
A: Japan’s team for this match includes experienced players from their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign. Coach Jamie Joseph has made several changes, aiming to build on their comprehensive win over Chile. However, Japan has faced difficulties against Six Nations and Rugby Championship sides in recent years.
Q: Why is England’s captain, Owen Farrell, not playing in this match?
A: Owen Farrell is serving a suspension imposed by World Rugby due to his dismissal in a previous match against Wales in August. As a result, he won’t be on the field for this game.
Q: What can we expect from this England vs. Japan Rugby World Cup clash?
A: This match promises to be a thrilling contest filled with passion, skill, and determination. England’s Lewis Ludlam and Japan’s experienced squad will vie for supremacy in what could be a captivating showdown in the Rugby World Cup.