Marcus Smith is set to be ruled out of England’s World Cup semi-final against South Africa at the Stade de France tomorrow – with Freddie Steward set to be recalled at full-back.
Head coach Steve Borthwick is due to name his line-up late this morning and, as first revealed by Mail Sport, there will be a change at full-back, with Steward reclaiming the place he lost last week.
It is understood that will be the only amendment to the XV which started against Fiji in Marseille.
The 22-year-old Steward, who had been a fixture in the national team since his debut in 2021, will provide a vital aerial presence to counter an anticipated high-ball barrage from the Boks.
He will reclaim the No 15 shirt from Smith, who suffered a clash of heads with Fiji wing Vinaya Habosi, in the first half of the quarter-final, which England went on to win 30-24.
Marcus Smith is set to be ruled out of England’s clash against South Africa after starring their 30-24 win over Fiji
Full-back Freddie Steward is set to be recalled for the fixture and return to full-back
England boss Steve Borthwick is set to name his line-up for Saturday’s semi-final tomorrow
Smith was cleared to play on, but will have had additional Head Injury Assessments following the match. The Harlequins prodigy did not take a full part in training on Tuesday and was on a ‘modified’ programme, amid doubts about whether he would be fit to face the Boks.
Captain Owen Farrell will continue to lead England at fly-half, with George Ford once again set for a bench role.
Steward – who had been a fixture in the national team for the last two years – is renowned for his authority under the high ball and England will need his aerial prowess against the Springboks, who are experts at targeting rival teams with their kicking game.
Kevin Sinfield, the Red Rose defence coach, spoke warmly about how Steward responded to his shock demotion last week and his attitude has been rewarded.