George Ford sat on the bench for the first time in England’s defeat to Scotland.
|Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 13 February Start: 14:15 GMT|
|Reporting: listen to commentary on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; live text commentary and post-match video on the website and sports application.|
George Ford, Courtney Laws, Kyle Sinclair and Mako Vunipola return to England for the start of the Six Nations XV against Italy.
Captain Owen Farrell slides to central defense to make room for Ford, while Ollie Lawrence comes in from 23rd.
Also on Saturday (2:15 p.m. CET), Luke Cowan-Dickey begins prostrating himself with Jamie George on the bench.
“As always, we picked the 23 strongest players to try to win the game,” said coach Eddie Jones.
Lawrence played a disappointing game as England were humiliated by Scotland at the weekend. He touched the ball only once before being substituted.
And Jones is now relying on the tried-and-true combination of Ford and Farrell, with Henry Slade providing a more skillful but lighter midfield.
The rest of the back line remains unchanged, with scrum half Ben Youngs and three players Johnny May, Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly remaining as scrum half.
The front row is brand new: Vunipola is injured, Sinckler is suspended and Cowan-Dickie replaces George.
Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill continue their partnership in second place, and while Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola maintain their place in last place, Mark Wilson is replaced by Laws in the blind spot flanking position.
Jones, whose team was favorites for the Six Nations until last weekend’s defeat, has benched six attackers while Charlie Ewels and Jack Willis prepare for their first appearance in the tournament this year.
Dan Robson and Max Malins are two replacements in the back line, leaving 23-year-old Harry Randall, who is said to be able to revitalize England’s back line, waiting for his first international.
Italy coach Franco Smith has added experience to his team for Saturday’s match. He has brought Carlo Canna into the center and backed Andrea Lovotti for the trip to Twickenham.
Canna, at 48 years old the strongest player in the starting lineup, replaces the injured Marco Zanon and takes the place of last weekend’s debutant Juan Ignacio Brex in the center of the attack.
However, Smith will continue to count on the junior duo of Paolo Garbisi (20) and Welshman Stephen Varney (19) if Italy wants to forget their first 50-10 loss against France.
England: Daly; Watson, Slade, Farrell (Kapitän), May; Ford, Youngs; M. Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Sinclair, Itoje, Hill, Lowes, Curry, B. Vunipola.
Substitutions : George, Genge, Stewart, Ewels, Earl, Willis, Robson, Malins.
Italy: Trulla; Sperandio, Brex, Canna, Ioanna; Garbisi, Varney; Lovotti, Bigi (captain. ), Riccioni, Lazzaroni, Sisi, Negri, Meyer, Lamaro.
Ersatzspieler : Lucchesi, Fischetti, Zilocchi, Cannone, Ruzza, Palazzani, Allan, Mori.
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