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Cokanasiga and Te’o to start against Italy

Joe Cokanasiga will make his first Six Nations start and Ben Te’o is recalled for England’s Six Nations encounter with Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.

Cokanasiga gets the nod on the right wing with Jack Nowell ruled out due to a shoulder injury as Eddie Jones makes five changes to his side that was beaten by Wales.

Te’o comes in at inside centre for his first appearance of the tournament, having recovered from a side strain, so Manu Tuilagi moves to outside centre and Henry Slade drops to the bench.

Prop Ellis Genge is preferred to Ben Moon, while lock Joe Launchbury replaces Courtney Lawes (calf) and Brad Shields starts at blindside flanker, with Mark Wilson named among the replacements.

Maro Itoje will not be involved against the Azzurri after suffering a recurrence of a knee injury in training.

Italy are bottom of the table without a point from three games, but Eddie Jones is not expecting a walk in the park as title hopefuls England look to respond to their loss in Cardiff.

The England head coach said: “Italy is a bit of an unknown quantity but when Conor [head coach 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 they are quite unpredictable in the way they attack.”

 

England: Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Te’o, Jonny May, Owen Farrell (captain), Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Brad Shields, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon, Dan Cole, Nathan Hughes, Mark Wilson, Dan Robson, George Ford, Henry Slade.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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