Farrell to 10 as England change three for Italian clash

  • February 11, 2023

England have made three changes as they take on Italy in the Six Nations, with Owen Farrell moving to fly-half in place of the benched Marcus Smith.

Ollie Lawrence takes the 12 shirt left vacant by Farrell, and he is partnered in the centres by Henry Slade, who replaces Joe Marchant.

In the forward pack England make a solitary change, as Toulouse’s Jack Willis replaces Ben Curry and becomes the first player in nearly 12 years to start for England whilst playing abroad.

And on the bench there are three new backs subs: Alex Mitchell is namedas the replacement scrum-half and Henry Arundell as the utility back, with the pair sandwiching Smith who will wear number 22.

On the big selection calls, England boss Steve Borthwick said: “As I ever when I pick a team I look at the way we want to play against a specific opposition.

“That’s something I’ve explained to the players and that’s the decision I made.

“It’s fantastic to welcome Henry Slade back, he’s a player who’s played very well for his club and has great attributes in the centre.

“Ollie Lawrence has played really well all season for his club and he’s certainly a player on form. I think we’ve got some exciting players available in the centres and that’s why I’ve decided to make that change.

“When you look at this team, you see exciting young talent. I want a squad where players know that at different times they’ll have different roles to play, but we’re all moving towards building a team we want.”

England will be desperate to bounce back after being beaten in round one by Scotland, having lost their opening game in the Six Nations for the fourth year in a row.

In each of the previous three years, they have managed to win their next game, and having never lost to Italy and with the Twickenham crowd behind them they are heavily-favoured to do the same this year.

But Italy come off the back of an impressive showing in their opening game against France, and have rarely headed to an away match against England with so much confidence.

“I think everybody watching round one of the Six Nations will see the strength of the Italian side, and I picked an England team to face that challenge.

“The squad have trained with tremendous application and determination this week and we’re really looking forward to this challenge on Sunday.”

England: Steward, Malins, Slade, Lawrence, Hassell-Collins, Farrell (c), Van Pooertvliet; Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Chessum, Ludlam, Willis, Dombrandt

Replacements: Walker, M Vunipola, Cole, Isiekwe, Earl, Mitchell, Smith, Arundell

For exclusive stories and all the detailed rugby news you need, subscribe to The Rugby Paper website, digital edition, or newspaper from as little as 14p a day.

#Farrell #England #change #Italian #clash