Italy captain Parisse returns for England clash

Sergio Parisse will return as captain for Italy against England in the Six Nations after he missed the defeat to Ireland with a concussion.

The veteran number eight, who holds the record for most Six Nations appearances with 67, was absent from the squad as the Azzurri fell to a 26-16 loss when they hosted the defending champions last time out.

He returns as part of three changes in the pack for Italy, who remain winless and appear poised for another wooden spoon despite more competitive performances than in recent years.

Seb Negri comes in at blindside flanker and will be joined by Braam Steyn, who switches to the openside role from number eight. Jimmy Tuivaiti and Maxime Mbanda drop out of the squad.

Luca Bigi replaces Leonardo Ghiraldini at hooker and will make his first start of the 2019 championship, while Jake Polledri is fit enough for the bench after an ankle injury.

"It will be a big challenge. We have trained well this week to build on the great work done before the Ireland game," head coach Conor O'Shea said of Saturday's clash.

"The focus has to be on ourselves and on the things we can control, trying to play our best rugby."


Italy: Jayden Hayward, Edoardo Padovani, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi; Andrea Lovotti, Luca Bigi, Simone Ferrari, Federico Ruzza, Dean Budd, Sebastian Negri, Braam Steyn, Sergio Parisse (captain).

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, David Sisi, Jake Polledri, Guglielmo Palazzani, Ian McKinley, Tommaso Castello.

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