Six Nations

Te'o returns to England side for Italy opener

2018-02-02 11:51
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)

London - Ben Te'o will make his first England appearance in nearly a year after being selected at outside centre in the defending champions' Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on Sunday. 

British and Irish Lions midfielder Te'o, a powerful ball-carrier, has displaced Jonathan Joseph, more of a traditional 'running' centre, in the side picked by Australian coach Eddie Jones after recovering from a severe ankle injury that ruled him out of England's November series. 

The match will be the first time Te'o has played since October, with the New Zealand-born rugby league convert partnering Owen Farrell in the centres. 

Te'o's only previous start for England was also against Italy in the corresponding fixture at Twickenham last season when an eventual 36-15 win for Jones's men was overshadowed by the controversial 'no ruck' tactics deployed by Azzurri coach Conor O'Shea. 

Dylan Hartley remains as captain, with the hooker looking to lead England to their 23rd win in 24 Tests under Jones. 

Meanwhile Ben Youngs has retained his place as the starting scrum-half, despite continued pressure for the No 9 shirt from Danny Care. 

Despite injuries that have cost them several first-choice players, England - who have won all 23 of their previous Tests against Italy - will be huge favourites to start their bid for an unprecedented third successive outright Six Nations title with a victory. 

"I have selected the strongest available side to play Italy this weekend and the players are excited to play in Rome," Jones said. 

"Our preparation over the last two weeks has been excellent and the players feel refreshed. We want to start the tournament well and are ready to go hunting against Italy." 

The former Australia and Japan coach added: "We know we need to get our set-piece right, be defensively strong and play with aggression and plenty of energy."





15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Danny Care, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Jack Nowell

Read more on:    england  |  italy  |  six nations  |  ben te'o  |  eddie jones  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

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.