Six Nations week one round-up: England struggle as Ireland make statement
Last week’s defeat to Scotland underlines the scale of the job just months out from the World Cup.
While Italy pushed France in their opening week defeat in Rome, making today’s contest a scrap between sides who will likely battle it out to finish behind Ireland, France and Scotland.
Follow all the latest from Twickenham in the final match from the second round of matches in the 2023 Six Nations:
England vs Italy line-ups: Team news ahead of Six Nations fixture
Steve Borthwick’s first game as head coach ended in defeat for the hosts, with Scotland continuing their fine recent Calcutta Cup record.
The opening round loss makes this encounter all the more important for Borthwick and his side, and Italy showed in a valiant defeat to France just how dangerous they can be.
Favouring an open, attacking game to suit an expressive young team, Kieran Crowley’s side pushed the defending grand slammers close in Rome and will now seek a first-ever win over England.
Jack Rathborn12 February 2023 13:00
Marcus Smith dropped by England as Steve Borthwick shuffles midfield pack
Having started the last eight Tests together, Smith has been demoted to the bench to accommodate Owen Farrell’s selection at fly-half instead of inside centre.
Former England boss Eddie Jones hoped the creative alliance would blossom in time for the World Cup and Steve Borthwick retained the duo for his first game in charge against Scotland last Saturday, but they have fired only sporadically as a partnership.
Borthwick completed a significant overhaul of the midfield by replacing Joe Marchant with Henry Slade at outside centre while Ollie Lawrence fills the vacancy at 12.
Jack Rathborn12 February 2023 11:13