Saints star Ludlam makes World Cup bow as England win opener

Lewis Ludlam produced an impressive performance after coming off the bench in Sapporo
Lewis Ludlam produced an impressive performance after coming off the bench in Sapporo

Saints flanker Lewis Ludlam made his World Cup debut as England beat Tonga 35-3 in Sapporo on Sunday.

Ludlam came off the bench with 25 minutes remaining and earned plenty of praise for his performance.

The appearance capped a remarkable rise to prominence for the 23-year-old, who was able to establish himself in the Saints first team last season.

Ludlam made 27 appearances for his club during the 2018/19 campaign, having previously racked up just 16 in two seasons since making his debut in an Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Newcastle Falcons.

And he is now a fully-fledged international who will be hoping for more minutes as the World Cup goes on.

Courtney Lawes remains a key man for England and he started the game against Tonga.

Manu Tuilagi scored twice with Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie also dotting down to secure a bonus point for the Red Rose in a largely scrappy game.

Meanwhile, Dan Biggar will start at 10 for Wales in their match against Georgia on Monday and Ahsee Tuala will start on the wing for Samoa against Russia on Tuesday.