THERE will be four Exeter Chiefs players and three from Bath Rugby in England’s matchday squad for their opening Nat West Six Nations clash of the season against Italy on Sunday.
Sam Simmonds will start his first-ever Six Nations clash at number eight as we wins his fourth cap in the back-row, whilst Chiefs’ team-mates Alec Hepburn, Harry Williams and Jack Nowell have all been included on the bench for the game at the Stadio Olympico.
Bath’s Anthony Watson also starts with Sam Underhill and Jonathan Joseph on the bench.
“I have selected the strongest available side to play Italy this weekend and the players are excited to play in Rome,” said Head Coach, Eddie Jones. “Our preparation over the last two weeks has been excellent and the players feel refreshed.
“We want to start the tournament well and are ready to go hunting against Italy. We know we need to get our set piece right, be defensively strong and play with aggression and plenty of energy.”
England team to face Italy:
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins 64 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 28 caps)
13 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 8 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens 53 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers 29 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 40 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers 73 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 44 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints 89 caps, capt)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 77 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 47 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens 14 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 61 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 59 caps)
8 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs 3 caps)
16 Jamie George (Saracens 20 caps)
17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs uncapped)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs 5 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens 21 caps)
20 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 3 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins 76 caps)
22 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 35 caps)
23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs 23 caps)