Six Nations

Eddie Jones makes 3 changes for Italy

Ben Youngs (Gallo)
Ben Youngs (Gallo)

London - England head coach Eddie Jones has made three changes in his team to play Italy in their second Six Nations clash in Rome on Sunday.

Lock Courtney Lawes, loosehead prop Mako Vunipola and scrum-half Ben Youngs come in for Joe Launchbury, Joe Marler and Danny Care, who all drop to the bench.

Youngs, 26, who has 53 caps, will link up with Bath's George Ford, while Vunipola, 25, was preferred over Marler, with Lawes taking Launchbury's place.

"We've made a few changes to the line-up for Italy," said Jones, who got off to a winning start as England coach by beating Scotland 15-9 at Murrayfield last Saturday.

"I believe this is the strongest 23 to go to Rome and get the performance and result we want," he said.

"Mako, Ben and Courtney have been pushing hard for selection during training, but they also fit the game plan we want to implement against Italy.

"Danny, Joe Marler and Joe Launchbury will all have significant roles to play to finish the game."

Lawes, Vunipola and Youngs came on as second-half replacements in the victory over Scotland with Vunipola's off-load acting as the catalyst for Jack Nowell's crucial try.

Jones also named two uncapped players on the bench with exciting Saracens forward Maro Itoje set to make his debut along with Northampton prop Paul Hill.

Itoje, 21, who can play both the second and back rows, caught Jones' eye with his outstanding form for Saracens this season.

"Maro has consistently impressed me this week and, together with his excellent club form, has deserved his call up to the matchday squad," Jones said.

Italy were edged 23-21 by France in Paris last Saturday and while Jones has called for England to give the Azzurri a "good hiding", he does not underestimate them.

"We are confident we can go to Rome and win, but we're in no doubt of the challenge we face. Italy took France very close so they'll be fired up," Jones said.

"It has been an intense week of training and I am pleased with how the group have responded to some of the things we've asked them to do," Jones said.

Bath utility back Ollie Devoto and Sale lock Josh Beaumont will travel to Rome with the squad as reserves.





15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Maro Itoje, 21 Jack Clifford, 22 Danny Care, 23 Alex Goode

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