NO PLACE FOR EXETER STARS BUT COKANASIGA HANDED START


THERE is no place for any Exeter Chiefs players as England head coach Eddie Jones makes a number of changes to his side’s for Saturday’s Six Nations match against Italy at Twickenham (4.45pm).

Henry Slade and Ben Moon both drop out of the starting line-up and on to the bench, where they join Luke Cowan-Dickie, while Jack Nowell is not included at all after struggling with an injury.

Worcester’s Ben Te’o replaces Slade in the centre, with Manu Tuilagi moving to outside centre, while Bristol-born Ellis Genge takes over from Moon at loose-head prop and Bath’s Joe Cokanasiga get his first Six Nations start on the right wing.

There are also starting spots for Joe Lanchbury and Brad Shields in the pack with Courtney Lawes injured and Mark Wilson dropping to the bench.

“We have had a good preparation ahead of Italy with a great week in Oxford where we competed against Georgia for two days,” said Jones.

“Players have had a good break and have come back into camp reenergised and refocused for what is an important game for us.”

He added: “Italy is a bit of an unknown quantity but when Conor 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 they are quite unpredictable in the way they attack.

“We expect Italy to throw the ball around a bit so we are going to have to defend very well against their unpredictability and when we have got the ball, we have to use it wisely.”

On returning to Twickenham, Jones said: “We are looking forward to getting back to Twickenham. We haven’t played there since the France game so it will be nice to play in front of our home crowd.”

England starting XV (472 caps)

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 28 caps), 14 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 3 caps), 13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps), 12 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 16 caps), 11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 43 caps), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 68 caps) (captain), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 83 caps), 1 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)  , 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 35 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 20 caps), 4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 56 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens, 30 caps), 6 Brad Shields (Wasps, 6 caps), 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 8 caps), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 39 caps)

Finishers (203 caps)

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps), 17 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 6 caps), 18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 83 caps), 19 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 20 caps), 20 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 11 caps), 21 Dan Robson (Wasps, 1 cap), 22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps), 23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 20 caps)

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