England make four changes for Italy

Date published: February 24 2017

Eddie Jones has named his side for England’s Six Nations game against Italy at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.

There are four changes to the starting XV that beat Wales at Principality Stadium in round two of the championship.

In the backline Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) gets his first start in an England shirt at outside-centre. Danny Care (Harlequins) is named at scrum-half and Jonny May (Gloucester) returns to the right wing. In the scrum James Haskell (Wasps) is named at flanker.

“We have had a good two-week preparation for Italy and we’re ready to go,” said England head coach Jones.

“We trained very well in the city last week and this week the training has been very impressive. The boys are really on song, we have had great competition for places, and we’ve picked a very strong 23 to play against Italy. 

On the bench Mako Vunipola (Saracens) returns to an England match-day 23 for the first time this year having recovered from a knee injury. The loose-head prop is included alongside Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) and Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) who will all finish the game.

Sunday’s match will see 25-year old back Owen Farrell (Saracens) win his 50th cap for England having made his debut against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2012.

England have won their opening two games of the Championship, having beaten France and Wales so far. They head into the game unbeaten but Jones says there is no complacency in the squad.

“It is an important Test match for us and our only consideration is to play well," he said.

"Italy have a proud record in Test rugby, they beat South Africa in November, and we will not underestimate them." 

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tom Wood, 20 Jack Clifford, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jack Nowell

Date: Sunday, February 26
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

COMMENTS