NewsCO.com.au – Six Nations international: England v Italy (Sunday)

February 26, 2017

Elliot Daly’s dramatic try gave England a narrow victory over Wales after a pulsating match in Cardiff.
Six Nations international
Venue: Twickenham Date: Sunday, 26 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and follow text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

TEAM NEWS & LINE-UPS

England’s Ben Te’o will make his first international start as he replaces Jonathan Joseph at outside centre.

Jonny May returns on the right wing, Danny Care comes in for Ben Youngs as starting scrum-half and James Haskell is recalled at open-side flanker.

Prop Mako Vunipola is on the bench after returning from a knee injury.

Italy have brought fly-half Tommaso Allan into their starting line-up as one of four changes to the side beaten heavily by Ireland.

Also included are winger Giulio Bisegni, centre Michele Campagnaro and Braam Steyn at blind-side flanker.

England: 15-Mike Brown, 14-Jonny May, 13-Ben Te’o, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-Elliot Daly, 10-George Ford, 9-Danny Care; 1-Joe Marler, 2-Dylan Hartley (captain), 3-Dan Cole, 4-Joe Launchbury, 5-Courtney Lawes, 6-Maro Itoje, 7-James Haskell, 8-Nathan Hughes.

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

Italy: 15-Edoardo Padovani, 14-Giulio Bisegni, 13-Michele Campagnaro, 12-Luke McLean, 11-Giovanbattista Venditti, 10-Tommaso Allan, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrea Lovotti, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3-Lorenzo Cittadini, 4-Marco Fuser, 5-Dries van Schalkwyk, 6-Braam Steyn, 7-Simone Favaro, 8-Sergio Parisse (captain)

Replacements: 16-Ornel Gega, 17-Michele Rizzo, 18-Pietro Ceccarelli, 19-George Biagi, 20-Maxime Mbanda, 21-Giorgio Bronzini, 22-Carlo Canna, 23-Tommaso Benvenuti.

COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Eddie Butler: “It is the game that will reignite the debate (if Italy’s last three results against Tonga, Wales and Ireland have not already done so) about the structure of the championship.

“As in, how unmovable are the six in the Six Nations? Georgia will be watching with interest.

“England will gorge in the second half and, in such a game, Italy might pick up a bonus point for four tries of their own. If they gain a second (losing) supplementary they will have pulled off a sporting miracle. England to win by…lots.”

VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS

England head coach Eddie Jones: “Ben Te’o at 13 gives us another way of playing the game and we are excited about seeing him, George Ford and Owen Farrell play together in the midfield.

“Ben Youngs has been outstanding for us at number nine, but Danny Care gets the starting jersey this week. For the first half he’ll give us a lot of speed and running at the base of the ruck as well as the scrum. Ben will then come on and finish the game.”

Italy head coach Conor O’Shea: “We have had to change, but the changes are for the future. One of the big things is to stop feeling sorry for ourselves in games.

“To stop feeling sorry for ourselves about where we are and focus on performance.”

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • England have won all 22 Tests against Italy, only failing to score a try in one of those matches – at Twickenham in 2013.
  • They have conceded an average of just three first-half points across their last seven home games against Italy.

England

  • England are on a national record run of 16 consecutive victories and are just two wins away from equalling the world record.
  • They are looking for a 10th consecutive Six Nations win, which would equal the tournament record they have set twice: 1882 to 1886 and 1922 to 1925.
  • The Red Rose are only two shy of becoming the first team to score 250 Six Nations tries.

Italy

  • Italy have lost nine consecutive Six Nations matches since a 22-19 win away to Scotland in February 2015.
  • They have lost 40 of their 43 previous away games in the Six Nations, with their only two wins in that time both coming at Murrayfield. They also drew against Wales in 2006.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Touch judges: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Andrew Brace (Ireland)

TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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