Sweeping changes for England ahead of trip to Rome

Eddie Jones has made six changes to his England team as they look to bounce back in their Round 2 clash with Italy in Rome.

Eddie Jones has made six changes to his England team as they look to bounce back in their Round 2 clash with Italy in Rome.

After their 20-17 defeat in the Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland, England are aiming to make amends against the Azzurri at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

Jack Nowell is set for his first Guinness Six Nations start since 2019, while Alex Dombrandt and Harry Randall have been included at No.8 and scrum-half respectively.

Elsewhere there are changes in the front row as Jamie George comes in for Luke Cowan-Dickie and Will Stuart gets the nod ahead of Kyle Sinckler.

With Lewis Ludlam injured, Maro Itoje shifts to blindside flanker which opens up a spot for Charlie Ewels to start alongside Nick Isiekwe.

Itoje is joined in the back row by skipper Tom Curry and Dombrandt, preferred to Sam Simmonds who drops to the bench.

In the backs, Randall will combine with Marcus Smith in the half-backs while there is a reshuffle that sees Joe Marchant move to outside centre as Nowell comes onto the wing, Elliot Daly the man to drop to the bench.

With the likes of Cowan-Dickie, Ben Youngs and George Ford all on the bench, it is an experienced bunch of replacements, but there is also the potential for a first cap for Leicester Tigers forward Ollie Chessum.


Jones said: “We’ve set ourselves the target of playing really well and lighting up Rome.

“We’ve made some changes and this is the best side to face Italy. We want to start fast and take the game to them.

“They can be a dangerous team and have some very good players in the likes of Garbisi, Negri and Lamaro.

“It’s been a difficult week, but the players have bounced back well, trained hard and are ready to put on a good performance on Sunday.”

England team to face Italy:

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps) 14. Max Malins (Saracens, 11 caps) 13. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 8 caps) 12. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 44 caps) (VC) 11. Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 35 caps) 10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 6 caps) 9. Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 2 caps)

1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps) (VC) 2. Jamie George (Saracens, 62 caps) 3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 16 caps) 4. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 27 caps) 5. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 4 caps) 6. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 52 caps) 7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 37 caps) (C) 8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 5 caps)


16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 32 caps) (VC) 17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 75 caps) 18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 48 caps) 19. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, uncapped) 20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps) 21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 113 caps) 22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 78 caps) 23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 53 caps)