Eddie Jones explains George Ford selection for England's semi-final v All Blacks

Eddie Jones has revealed that George Ford’s ‘absolutely exceptional’ work rate off the ball was a major factor in his decision to recall the fly-half for England’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

Henry Slade, who impressed as England swept aside Australia in the quarter-finals, has dropped back down to the bench in the only change to Jones’ XV for this weekend’s titanic clash in Yokohoma, with Owen Farrell switching to inside centre.

It means Manu Tuilagi moves to outside centre, while Jonny May keeps his place on the wing after suffering an injury scare versus the Wallabies last weekend.

Mark Wilson missed out on last Saturday’s comprehensive 40-16 victory over Australia but has been promoted to England’s squad and replaces Lewis Ludlam on the bench.

Asked about his decision to drop Slade and recall Ford, Jones replied: ‘Every game we have a look at the conditions, the opposition, what we think we need to do, what we think we need to take away from the opposition and this is the best fit for us. It’s horses for courses.

‘These press conferences aren’t for detail in the tactics of your game but we just feel it’s the right combination for us this week.

‘Work rate is going to be important. Whenever you play New Zealand your work off the ball is going to be massively important.

‘They like to move the ball around, they’re very good on transition and George’s work rate off the ball is absolutely exceptional.’

England’s squad for semi-final

Starting XV: Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (capt), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, George Kruis, Mark Wilson, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph.

There is no place for Joe Launchbury in England’s squad, with Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes starting at lock and George Kruis named on the substitutes bench.

On his selections in the second row, Jones explained: ‘We’ve got four great locks in squad.

‘It’s a hard decision every game on who we’re going to start with and who we’re going to finish with.

‘I believe George Kruis will be exceptional for us finishing the second half and Courtney will throw himself about a bit in the first half.’

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