RECAP: England v Italy
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to the World Cup warm-up match between England and Italy in Newcastle.
The match is being contested at St James’ Park in Newcastle and is the final warm-up match for both teams.
England has selected from outside their World Cup squad – naming Joe Marchant at outside centre in a “mix-and-match selection”.
2019: England won 57-14, London
2018: England won 46-15, Rome
2017: England won 36-15, London
2016: England won 40-9, Rome
2015: England won 47-17, London
2014: England won 52-11, Rome
2013: England won 18-11, London
2012: England won 19-15, Rome
2011: England won 59-13, London
2010: England won 17-12, Rome
Prediction: England have won each of their 25 Test encounters with Italy, the Azzurri are the only side England have faced on 10 or more occasions without suffering a single defeat. England’s 25 victories over Italy have come by an average margin of 28 points, with Italy failing to finish within 20 points of England since 2013. England has won five of their six matches to be played on a Friday in the professional era, including each of the last four in a row – most recently a 35-11 victory in the opening match of the 2015 World Cup against Fiji. England has scored more points (280) and tries (35) than any other Tier One side in 2019, as well as maintaining the best goal-kicking success rate (86 percent). The bookmakers say England by more than 30 points, but we feel it will be a touch less – about 20 points.
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England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Mark Wilson, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Joe Cokanasiga.
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Benvenuti, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd (captain), 4 David Sisi, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Alessandro Zanni, 21 Maxime Mbanda, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Tommaso Allan.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)