Six Nations

England opt for consistency

2015-02-12 12:34
Stuart Lancaster (Getty)

London - England head coach Stuart Lancaster has named an unchanged team for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Italy at Twickenham.

Lancaster has kept faith with the same starting XV and bench that beat Wales 21-16 in Cardiff in the Championship opener.

"It's always good to be able to name an unchanged team and to build some consistency. We did the same last year after France heading into the Scotland game," Lancaster said.

England were able to report a clean bill of health despite a bruising clash at the Millennium Stadium that saw Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph cross in each half.

Joseph and George Kruis will get their first Twickenham starts on Saturday.

"Italy are going to be fired up, they always are when they come to Twickenham - especially after last week's loss to Ireland," Lancaster said.

"We know what's coming at us, but we have prepared well and are looking forward to getting back home and playing in front of our fantastic supporters."

Lancaster had hoped to pick Geoff Parling as second row cover among the replacements at the expense of Nick Easter or Tom Croft, only for the Leicester lock to suffer a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.

Tighthead Dan Cole is given another chance to gain match fitness after a year interrupted by neck and foot problems, while on the other side of the scrum Joe Marler continues to be first choice loosehead.

England have never lost to Italy in 20 matches dating back to 1991, but have won by only seven points or less in three of their last five matches.

The rivals' last meeting at Twickenham two years ago saw Lancaster's men prevail just 18-11 through six penalties from Toby Flood.

Teams:

Italy:

15 Luke Mclean, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Giovambattista Venditti, 10 Kelly Haimona, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 George Fabio Biagi, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alberto De Marchi

Substitutes: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Samuela Vunisa, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Giulio Bisegni

England:

15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 James Haskell, 5 George Kruis, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Nick Easter, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Billy Twelvetrees

Read more on:    six nations  |  stuart lancaster  |  rugby
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