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England Name Starting XV For 6 Nations Opener Against Italy

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Eddie Jones, head coach of England looks on during England media access at Pennyhill Park on January 30, 2018 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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Eddie Jones has named his England starting fifteen as England begin the defence of their 6 Nations championship this weekend.

Dylan Hartley leads the side once again as they look to begin with a victory against Conor O’Shea’s Italy in Rome.

Jones has experimented slightly with his lineup, and how that pans out will be an interesting prospect. Northampton Saints’ Courtney Lawes lines out at blindside flanker in a slight departure from his typical position at second row at international level, while Ben Te’o, seen more as an inside centre, is given the number thirteen shirt.

Interestingly, despite the recent form of Danny Care, Ben Youngs is given the nod to start in the scrum half position.

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Ben Youngs looks on during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on November 21, 2017 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Despite previous worries of a potential “injury crisis,” one look at the England bench will show that this is far from the case – the likes of George Kruis, Sam Underhill, Jonathan Joseph and Jack Nowell all prepared to supply power in the forward positions and pace at the back in the second half if Jones feels that it is warranted. The match could also see a first international cap handed to Alec Hepburn, with the Exeter Chiefs’ prop named among the replacements.

O’Shea and Italy confused England at Twickenham last year with their innovative tactics before eventually running out of steam, and Jones will have to be mindful of the Azzurri springing another surprise on Sunday.

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Author: The PA Team

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