England make five changes for Italy
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England head coach Eddie Jones has selected his team to play Italy in their next Six Nations match on Saturday.
There are five changes to the starting XV that played Wales a fortnight ago. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath) starts on the right wing for his fourth cap while Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) comes in at inside centre with Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) moving to outside centre.
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers) starts at loosehead prop with Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) shifting to the bench. Joe Launchbury (Wasps) is named in the second row following the injury of Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) in Cardiff. Brad Shields (Wasps) will start at blindside flank with Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) named as a replacement.
“What’s important is how you respond and so far the response in training has been excellent.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 7, 2019
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) and Nathan Hughes (Wasps) are both named as replacements having not been involved in England’s previous match against Wales.
“We have had a good preparation ahead of Italy with a great week in Oxford where we competed against Georgia for two days,” said Jones.
“Players have had a good break and have come back into camp reenergised and refocused for what is an important game for us.”
He added: “Italy is a bit of an unknown quantity but when Conor [O’Shea] allows them [Itlay] to play rugby they play well. They have played terrific games in the Six Nations. They are fitter, physically stay in the contest a lot longer and they are quite unpredictable in the way they attack.
“We expect Italy to throw the ball around a bit so we are going to have to defend very well against their unpredictability and when we have got the ball, we have to use it wisely.”
On returning to Twickenham, Jones said: “We are looking forward to getting back to Twickenham. We haven’t played there since the France game so it will be nice to play in front of our home crowd.”
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 George Kruis, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Nathan Hughes, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Dan Robson, 22 George Ford, 23 Henry Slade.
Date: Saturday, March 9
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16.45 (16.45 GMT; 17.45 Italy time)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)