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Youngs set for 100th cap while Hill makes England debut

Youngs set for 100th cap while Hill makes England debut

Ben Youngs will win his 100th Test cap on Saturday as England chase the Guinness Six Nations title against Italy.

The scrum-half becomes only the second England player to reach the milestone and is just short of prop Jason Leonard’s overall record of 114.

Head coach Eddie Jones has named an attacking line-up for the trip to Rome with playmakers Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph starting at centre, outside captain and fly-half Owen Farrell.

George Furbank makes his third start of the Championship, and first since the Calcutta Cup victory against Scotland, at full-back, in place of the injured Elliot Daly.

Jonny Hill makes his international debut in the second row alongside Maro Itoje, while hooker Jamie George wins his 50th cap and Billy Vunipola makes his first international appearance since the World Cup final a year ago.

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Hooker Tom Dunn, centre Ollie Lawrence and winger Ollie Thorley could also make their debuts from the bench.

England need a bonus-point win against Italy and then must wait to see what happens later on Saturday night when leaders Ireland visit France.

Ireland can win the Championship with a bonus-point victory but any other result could open the door for England, who are seeking a third Championship in five years.

Jones said: “We’ve trained with good intensity this week and the squad are excited by the challenge of performing at our best against Italy.

“The team have prepared well and are looking forward to putting on an England shirt and showing what they can do.

“We will also celebrate two major achievements in Ben Youngs and Jamie George’s cap milestones. It’s testimony to their skill, hard work and love of playing for England, and there is more to come from both of them.”

STARTING XV

15. George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 50 caps)
12. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 56 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 83 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 59 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 49 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 35 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 38 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 23 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps)

REPLACEMENTS

16. Tom Dunn, (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 2 caps)
22. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
23. Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)