England captain Chris Robshaw wary of improving Italy's threat

Chris Robshaw
England were victorious in their first game under new captain Chris Robshaw, winning 13-6 in Scotland

Chris Robshaw has vowed England will go toe-to-toe with Italy in Rome to avoid defeat against an ever-improving side.

England made a winning start to the defence of their Six Nations title in Scotland last weekend and face another difficult trip on Saturday.

"They will want to go out and prove they are a rugby force," said the England captain.

"Coming to Italy, to their capital, is not easy and they are getting better year on year."

A new-look England side recorded a hard-fought 13-6 win in Edinburgh last Saturday, making 238 tackles and preventing the home side scoring a try.

In the second round of fixtures, they face an Italy side who have never beaten England in a Test match and one that will be desperate to make a name for themselves by doing so.

"We have no illusions about what it is going to be like," added Robshaw.

"Everyone knows about the Italian passion but we have to match that. Everyone who is in this set-up at the moment is so passionate to play for their country.

"We will have to front up. We are under no illusions, we know what passion is coming. It is about going toe-to-toe with each other.

"Italy are always a very physical and passionate side, they will hold the ball through phases and they will have a go through the forwards.

"Last week's win showed the character of our guys. When you go away from home it is you against a whole nation."

England are unchanged for the game in the Stadio Olimpico, with Northampton back-row forward Phil Dowson holding off a challenge from Ben Morgan to start again at number eight.


Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Edoardo Gori; 1 Andrea Lo Cicero, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 5 Marco Bortolami, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 7 Robert Barbieri, 8 Sergio Parisse (capt)

Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Antonio Pavanello, 19 Mauro Bergamasco, 20 Fabio Semenzato, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Luca Morisi

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Dan Cole, 3 Dylan Hartley, 4 Mouritz Botha, 5 Tom Palmer, 6 Tom Croft , 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 8 Phil Dowson

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Geoff Parling, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Jordan Turner-Hall, 22 Mike Brown


Referee: Jerome Garces (FRA)

Touch judges: Alain Rolland (IRE) & Neil Paterson (SCO)

TV: Tony Redmond (IRE)

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