Six Nations

Hepburn set for England debut against Italy

2018-02-01 13:59
eddie jones, england, rugby
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)

London - Alec Hepburn is in line to make his England debut when the Six Nations champions begin their title defence against Italy in Rome on Sunday. 

The Exeter prop was included in a 25-man squad announced by coach Eddie Jones on Wednesday and appears to destined to provide loosehead cover off the bench for Mako Vunipola. 

With the front row one of the most gruelling areas on the field, many props don't last a full 80 minutes and that means Hepburn may well feature at some stage during a Stadio Olimpico clash where the Azzurri will be searching for their first Test win against England. 

Hepburn is effectively England's sixth-choice loosehead prop but the suspension of Joe Marler as well as injuries to Ellis Genge, Matt Mullan and Beno Obano have given the 25-year-old an unexpected chance with England. 

But the experienced trio of fullback Mike Brown, flank Chris Robshaw and powerhouse forward Maro Itoje have all overcome their respective injury problems. 

Australian coach Jones, who has won 22 of his 23 Tests in charge of England, is due to name his starting XV on Friday before the squad fly out to Rome later that day.

England 25-man squad to play Italy:


Back three: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Nathan Earle (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester), Anthony Watson (Bath)

Inside backs: Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Ben Te'o (Worcester), Ben Youngs (Leicester)


Back five: George Graham (Newcastle), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Sam Underhill (Bath)

Front row: Dan Cole (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Alec Hepburn (Exeter), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter)

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  alec hepburn  |  eddie jones  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 10 March 2018
Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium 16:15
France v England, Stade de France 18:45
Sunday, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy, Millennium Stadium 17:00
Saturday, 17 March 2018
Italy v Scotland, Stadio Olimpico 14:30
England v Ireland, Twickenham Stadium 16:45
Wales v France, Millennium Stadium 19:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will win the 2018 Six Nations title?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.