Sam Burgess England
Sam Burgess will start in alongside Henry Slade in the centre positions Getty Images

England have included Sam Burgess in their starting XV for the World Cup warm-up match against France on 15 August.

The rugby league convert has been given an opportunity to prove his worth to Stuart Lancaster, as the head coach takes a closer look at his fringe players in the first of two fixtures against Les Bleus.

Henry Slade completes the uncapped centre pairing for the hosts, whilst Owen Farrell starts at No.10. Danny Cipriani is among the replacements and will hope for another chance to show what he can do at the top level.

Flanker Tom Wood captains the side, with Northampton Saints' Calum Clark the other debutant on show. Mako Vunipola, Geoff Parling and Ben Morgan offer relative experience in the scrum, but it is a side packed full of players out to impress Lancaster.

"The lads are itching to get out and play a match and these games give us a chance to look at a wide range of players and combinations before we narrow down our selection further," said Lancaster.

England must finalise their 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup on 31 August, and the clash at Twickenham is likely to be the final opportunity for some to make their case for selection in a test match situation.

After matches against Philippe Saint-Andre's side home and away, Lancaster's men host Ireland following the final cut of players before beginning their quest for World Cup glory against Fiji in Pool A on Friday 18 September.

England starting XV to face France:

15 Alex Goode (Saracens, 17 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
12 Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 13 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 29 caps)
9 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 21 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 20 caps)
2 Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
3 Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)
4 George Kruis (Saracens, 7 caps)
5 Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 23 caps)
6 Tom Wood (capt, Northampton Saints, 36 caps)
7 Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
8 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 27 caps)


16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
17 Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints, 19 caps)
18 David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)
19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 20 caps)
20 James Haskell (Wasps, 58 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 50 caps)
22 Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks, 12 caps)
23 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 20 caps)