Sat, 28 Nov 2020

Ben Youngs is set to become the first back to win 100 England caps after the scrumhalf was named Thursday in the starting side for their Six Nations title bid away to Italy this weekend.

Only retired prop Jason Leonard (114 caps) has made more Test appearances for England than the 31-year-old Youngs, who has also played in two internationals for the British and Irish Lions.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, lock Jonny Hill is poised for a Test debut after helping Exeter complete an English Premiership and European Champions Cup double this season, with the 26-year-old newcomer set to partner Maro Itoje in the second row at Rome's Olympic Stadium.

Meanwhile George Furbank deputises for Elliot Daly (shin injury) at fullback.

While England coach Eddie Jones has selected a largely experienced side, the uncapped trio of Tom Dunn, Ollie Lawrence and Ollie Thorley are all on the bench.

Dunn will provide cover for hooker Jamie George, with centre Lawrence and wing Thorley among England's replacement backs.

George will be winning his 50th cap, with England, last year's losing World Cup finalists, again captained by Owen Farrell, his Saracens team-mate.

England head into the final round of this coronavirus-delayed Six Nations knowing a win over perennial strugglers Italy could see them crowned champions if the result of the France-Ireland match later Saturday also falls in their favour.

But they will go into the game without a warm-up match after last week's fixture against the Barbarians was cancelled after breaches of Covid-19 health protocols involving the invitational club's players.

Nevertheless Jones, in a RFU statement, said: "We've trained with good intensity this week and the squad are excited by the challenge of performing at our best against Italy.

"The team have prepared well and are looking forward to putting on an England shirt and showing what they can do."

The veteran Australian boss added: "We will also celebrate two major achievements in Ben Youngs and Jamie George's cap milestones.

"It's testimony to their skill, hard work and love of playing for England, and there is more to come from both of them."

Teams:

Italy

TBA

England

15 George Furbank, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Ollie Thorley

Source: News24

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