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England have made five changes to their starting XV as they look to get back to winning ways when they take on Italy in the fourth round of the Guinness Six Nations Championship on Saturday.
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby) starts on the right wing for his fourth cap while Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) comes in at inside centre with Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) moving to outside centre.
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers) starts at loose head prop with Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) shifting to the bench. Joe Launchbury (Wasps) is named in the second row following the injury of Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) in Cardiff. Brad Shields (Wasps) will start at blindside flanker with Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) named as a finisher.
Italy have made three changes, with number eight Sergio Parisse back from a head injury to captain the side.
Sebastian Negri is named in the back row after recovering from illness while hooker Luca Bigi is set to make his first start in the Championship, replacing Leonardo Ghiraldini.
Eddie Jones has gone for power for Saturday’s fixture with prop Ellis Genge, centre Be Te’o and wing Joe Cokanasiga all starting the match.
We start with Ellis Genge. Ben Moon has done really well for us but we want a bit more carry at the start of the game and Genge will give us that and Moon will give us good work rate as a finisher,” said Jones.
We are just looking to add another combination this weekend against Italy. It is a bigger centre combination with Te’o at 12 and Manu at 13 and then Henry Slade will finish the game for us.
On Cokanasiga: “It’s good for Joe to come back in the side, he’s been there or thereabouts during the Six Nations having returned from injury and he deserves his opportunity with Jack Nowell unavailable for this game.”
I’ve said to the players I don’t want them to even think about the result, their job is to deliver a performance of intensity, physicality and ambition. I’ll say ambition 20 times because I want them to go out and play. I’ll take the flak for any results.
The big thing is to get the confidence to win and get the energy that comes with that. We have to dust ourselves down every time and come back. This is a massive ask but I can’t wait for this weekend.
England have won all 19 of their clashes with Italy in the Six Nations and remain the only side the Azzurri are yet to taste victory against in the tournament.
England have won 16 of their last 17 home games in the Six Nations, those victories coming by an average margin of 16 points.
England have scored at least one try in each of their last 13 home games in the Six Nations, the last team to stop England crossing the whitewash at Twickenham in the tournament was Italy back in 2013, one of just two occasions that England have failed to score a try at home in the tournament since 2000 (also v Wales in 2012).
England have opted to kick from hand on 112 occasions in this year’s Six Nations, no other side has kicked as often, while Italy have made the fewest kicks in play (58).
England’s Mark Wilson has made the most tackles of any player in this year’s Six Nations (67) and has also attended a tournament-high 124 rucks,being the first man in either attack or defence to 90 of those rucks.
England’s Owen Farrell needs just six points to reach 800 in his Test career (England & Lions), he would be the 14th player in history to reach that tally and the second Englishman after Jonny Wilkinson (1246).
England team: Daly, Cokanasiga, Tuilagi, Te’o, May, Farrell (capt), Youngs; Genge, George, Sinckler, Launchbury, Kruis, Shields, Curry, Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Moon, Cole, Hughes, Wilson, Robson, Ford, Slade.
Italy team: Hayward, Padovani, Campagnaro, Morisi, Esposito, Allan, Tebaldi; Lovotti, Bigi, Ferrari, Ruzza, Budd, Negri, Steyn, Parisse (capt).
Replacements: Ghiraldini, Traore, Pasquali, Sisi, Polledri, Palazzani, McKinley, Castello.