Eddie Jones’ personnel rejig for England’s clash with Italy will reportedly see a surprise name restored to the starting fifteen.
Having come through a tough test against Wales last week Jones can relax somewhat, safe in the knowledge that, as much as a fight as they may put up, the Italians are limited enough that a rotated side should have more than enough quality to get a convincing bonus point win.
Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care has started just twice in Jones’ time in charge but, according to Sportsmail, is in line to start in the clash against the Azzurri at Twickenham on Sunday. Care, 30, has not started for the Red Rose since the match against France almost a year ago, as he has had to bide his time with Ben Youngs ahead of him in the pecking order.
Jones will name his team to face Italy on Friday morning, and with the points against Conor O’Shea’s side all but assured already, the England coach can afford to experiment with some rotation. That being said, the vast majority of the changes are due to take place among the backs.
To that end, the coach was training with a new centre partnership of Ben Te’o and Elliot Daly last week, which suggests that they will be entrusted with the positions in competitive action at the weekend.
In said training session Jonny May was utilised on the wing and indeed it does appear that he will start ahead of Anthony Watson, while Dylan Hartley is in line to continue at hooker (and, therefore, as captain) with Jamie George remaining on the bench.
Flanker James Haskell, meanwhile, is due to finally regain his place in the team in place of Jack Clifford, as he looks to complete his comeback from injury.
In any event, Jones will put an end to all of the speculation when he confirms the starting pack to face Italy on Friday morning. Indeed, he is likely to keep everyone guessing right up to the announcement.