Six Nations: England v Italy preview, team news & key stats

England's players after losing to Wales
England's bid for a Grand Slam ended with a 21-13 defeat by Wales at the Principality Stadium
2019 Six Nations: England v Italy
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 9 March Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary online.

Team news

England have made five changes to the side that lost to Wales as they face Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Powerful backs Joe Cokanasiga and Ben Te'o both start while prop Ellis Genge, lock Joe Launchbury and flanker Brad Shields all come into the pack.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse returns from concussion in one of three changes to the side that lost to Ireland.

Sebastian Negri joins him in the back row while hooker Luca Bigi gets his first start of the championship.

What's at stake?

England have never lost to Italy in 24 matches and victory on Saturday would maintain their Six Nations title hopes heading into the final round of matches.

Italy have lost their last 20 Six Nations matches and are bottom of the Six Nations table, but they led Ireland at half-time of their most recent match before losing 26-16.

The Azzurri have led twice against England at half-time: they were 10-5 up on their last visit in 2017 before succumbing 26-15, and were winning 12-6 six years ago in an eventual 19-15 defeat.

Line-ups

England: 15-Daly, 14-Cokanasiga, 13-Tuilagi, 12-Te'o, 11-May, 10-Farrell (capt), 9-Youngs; 1-Genge, 2-George, 3-Sinckler, 4-Kruis, 5-Launchbury, 6-Shields, 7-Curry, 8-Vunipola.

Replacements: 16-Cowan-Dickie, 17-Moon, 18-Cole, 19-Hughes, 20-Wilson, 21-Robson, 22-Ford, 23-Slade.

Italy: 15-Hayward, 14-Padovani, 13-Campagnaro, 12-Morisi, 11-Esposito, 10-Allan, 9-Tebaldi; 1-Lovotti, 2-Bigi, 3-Ferrari, 4-Ruzza, 5-Budd, 6-Negri, 7-Steyn, 8-Parisse (capt).

Replacements: 16-Ghiraldini, 17-Traore, 18-Pasquali, 19-Sisi, 20-Polledri, 21-Palazzani, 22-McKinley, 23-Castello.

Commentator's notes

Eddie Butler: "The question was asked. Might Eddie Jones loosen the style a bit against Italy? Chuck it about a bit at Twickenham? He has replied by bringing Ben Te'o in at 12, pushing Manu Tuilagi out to 13 and starting with Joe Cokanasiga on the wing.

"Henry Slade, symbol of a slightly less confrontational approach, slides down to the bench. Eddie, it would appear, doesn't care for a more casual style.

"England will win - and in any style of their coach's desire - but perhaps it will seem a little strange if it is Conor O'Shea's Italy that (again) show more invention and imagination than England at the home of the game."

View from both camps

England head coach Eddie Jones: "Italy is a bit of an unknown quantity but when Conor (O'Shea) allows them to play rugby they play well.

"They have played terrific games in the Six Nations. They are fitter, physically stay in the contest a lot longer and are quite unpredictable in the way they attack."

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea: "This is an Italy team that's preparing to win. Everybody thinks we're delusional. But we're sports people, we're competitive people."

"I've said to the players I don't want them to even think about the result, their job is to deliver a performance of intensity, physicality and ambition.

"I'll say ambition 20 times because I want them to go out and play. I'll take the flak for any results."

Six Nations table

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • England have won all 24 of their Tests against Italy, only failing to score a try in one of those matches - at Twickenham in 2013.
  • They have scored 757 points in 19 Six Nations matches against Italy at an average of 40 points per game.
  • England's record Six Nations win was an 80-23 victory v Italy in February 2001 in which they scored 10 tries.
  • The Red Rose have scored 31 tries in their last five Six Nations fixtures against the Azzurri.

England

  • England have scored 11 tries, four more than any other team in this Six Nations so far.
  • They have kicked from hand 111 times, the most in the tournament - Italy's 57 kicks is the fewest.
  • England have made the fewest carry metres (1,736), the least carries (325), passes (388), line breaks (seven) and tackle breaks (14) of any side so far.
  • Their 105 dominant tackles is 38 more than any other side. Italy have made the fewest with 33.

Italy

  • Italy have lost their last 20 Six Nations matches - a Championship record.
  • Conor O'Shea's side have a goal-kicking success rate in this Six Nations of just 42.9%.
  • The Azzurri have conceded 29 penalties, the joint most so far along with Scotland.

Match officials

Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)

Touch judges: Paul Williams (New Zealand) & Andrew Brace (Ireland)

TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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