England v Italy: Everything you need to know
- Author: Julie Sanders Feb 25, 2017,
Feb 25, 2017, 15:06
England: Mike Brown, Jonny May, Ben Te'o, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Danny Care; Nathan Hughes, James Haskell, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (captain), Joe Marler.
England, on a 16-match winning streak and targeting back-to-back grand slams, will expect a hefty bonus-point win over Italy, a side they have beaten in all 22 previous meetings by an average margin of nearly 30 points. "We know they are going to come to Twickenham and play their best game of the tournament, as every team does against England".
England are to hand a first worldwide start to powerhouse centre Ben Te'o against Italy on Sunday as Eddie Jones fields a revamped backline that will include a recall for scrum-half Danny Care.
Te'o will start alongside Owen Farrell at outside centre, while Danny Care will start for his country for the first time in nearly a year at scrum-half.
Meanwhile, Italy head coach Conor O'Shea has made four changes for Sunday's fixture in the wake of their 63-10 defeat to Ireland last time out.
England have changed four, with Jonathan Joseph the big-name casualty, with Jones preferring Ben Te'o at outside centre. Sergio Parisse will play a game on the Saturday or the Sunday and we'd get him on the Monday to assess him for a game on the following Saturday. The one thing I know about Owen is that his next 50 are going to be more impressive than his first.
"Ben Youngs has been outstanding for us at number nine, but Danny Care gets the starting jersey this week". "Our backs have been predominantly passing players and we just felt that it would give us another option to play a ball-runner in there". The big cities are the ones who play football, and small ones like I mentioned in Rodrigo, Calvisano, Viadana, they're small towns that attract a very vocal base but still small, maybe 3,000 to 4,000 people.
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.
"Tom Wood has been great for us at seven, and Jack Clifford did well against Wales but James Haskell has the starting role on Sunday; he has come back to a much better level of fitness and we are sure his explosive actions will help us in the first part of the game", Jones continued. Mako Vunipola 18. Kyle Sinckler 19. George Biagi 20. Maxime Mbanda 21.
Elsewhere, flanker Abraham Steyn replaces Maxime Mbanda in the back row while Giulio Bisegni comes off the bench to start in place of Angelo Esposito on the wing. Giorgio Bronzini 22. Carlo Canna 23.
Jones said after the victory over Wales that he wanted to "take Italy to the cleaners".