Ben Te’o will make his first Test start on Sunday for England against Italy while Danny Care gets the scrum-half spot for the round three Six Nations match.
Eddie Jones has made four changes for the visit of the Azzurri with Te’o, Care, Jonny May and James Haskell all starting. Te’o has won five caps for England, but this is his first start and he lines up alongside Owen Farrell in the midfield with George Ford keeping his place at fly-half. Care, who last started against France in the 2016 Six Nations, takes the scrum-half spot with May getting the nod on the wing.
Haskell comes into the back-row having played England’s previous two Six Nations matches from the bench while Henry Slade and Mako Vunipola are named among the replacements.
“We have had a good two-week preparation for Italy and we’re ready to go,” said England head coach Jones. “We trained very well in the city last week and this week the training has been very impressive. The boys are really on song, we have had great competition for places, and we’ve picked a very strong 23 to play against Italy.
Ben Te’o trains during the Six Nations. David Rogers/Getty Images
“Selection was tough. 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.
“Tom Wood has been great for us at seven, and Jack Clifford did well against Wales but James Haskell has the starting role on Sunday; he has come back to a much better level of fitness and we are sure his explosive actions will help us in the first part of the game.
“It is an important Test match for us and our only consideration is to play well. Italy have a proud record in Test rugby, they beat South Africa in November, and we will not underestimate them. “I know the Twickenham crowd will give Owen Farrell a big cheer. To reach 50 caps at such a young age is a fine achievement. The one thing I know about Owen is that his next 50 are going to be more impressive than his first.”
Mike Brown, Jonny May, Ben Te’o, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Danny Care; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, James Haskell, Nathan Hughes
Replacements: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Tom Wood, Jack Clifford, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY