Gordon D'Arcy may not be the only one to take the knife to Stuart Lancaster's decisions ahead of the Wales clash but his analysis was certainly one of the most illuminating. The Leinster centre was damning with his assessment that Lancaster has put England's World Cup hopes in doubt by putting his belief in Sam Burgess.
That kind of criticism seems to have had an effect as Lancaster looks set to try a previously untested midfield combination for their must win Pool A game against Australia on Saturday.
A midfield axis of Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt and Jonathan Joseph looks likely to be the call with Joseph being fast-tracked back from injury to replace his Bath teammate Burgess and Barritt being shifted to inside centre. This new look English midfield would be the 18th permutation of Stuart Lancaster's three and a half year reign.
There will certainly be other changes to the team that lost to Wales 28-25 due to injury problems. Ben Morgan is likely to start at number 8 for Billy Vunipola, who has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a knee ligament injury. Joe Launchbury also looks set to make his first start of the World Cup in place for the injured Courtney Lawes who is struggling with a knee problem.
The English camp is reportedly optimistic that Ben Youngs will overcome his ankle injury in time for the crunch clash. However Richard Wigglesworth, who has impressed off the bench so far in the World cup, is on standby if the Leicester man doesn't recover in time.
It also looks likely that Burgess will keep his place in the match day 23, with the former rugby league star taking Alex Goode's spot on the bench.
Giving the boot to Sam Burgess will not be a big shock to English fans but the big talking point will be who Lancaster decides to start at out-half with all signs pointing towards Owen Farrell getting the nod ahead of George Ford.
Probable England team to face Australia: Brown; Watson, Joseph, Barritt, May; Farrell, B Youngs/Wigglesworth; Marler, T Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Wood, Robshaw, Morgan.
Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
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