England make three changes for Italy clash


England head coach Eddie Jones has named Courtney Lawes, Mako Vunipola and Ben Youngs in his side for the Six Nations encounter against Italy on Sunday.

Second-rower Lawes and scrum-half Youngs replace Joe Launchbury and Danny Care, who will both feature among the replacements at the Stadio Olimpico.

Prop Mako Vunipola also earns a placing in the starting XV after impressing from the bench in last weekend's 15-9 victory over Scotland, Joe Marler subsequently losing his starting berth.

Ollie Devoto drops out of the 23-man squad but will travel with the group, while uncapped duo Maro Itoje and Paul Hill are named among the replacements.

Jones says the switches suit the game-plan he will look to deploy in Rome, having previously stated he would look for more pace in the pack. 

"We've made a few changes to the line-up for Italy. I believe this is the strongest 23 to go to Rome and get the performance and result we want," he said.

"Mako, Ben and Courtney have been pushing hard for selection during training, but they also fit the game plan we want to implement against Italy. Danny, Joe Marler and Joe Launchbury will all have significant roles to play to finish the game.

"We are confident we can go to Rome and win, but we're in no doubt of the challenge we face. Italy took France very close last weekend in Paris so they'll be fired up."

Devoto and Josh Beaumont will travel with the group, despite not being called up for duty.


Team in full: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis, Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Paul Hill, Joe Launchbury, Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Alex Goode.