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Thursday Feb 1, 2024

England and Italy squads announced for weekend's Six Nations match

International rugby returns this weekend, with the annual Six Nations tournament set to grace our television screens once again. The tournament starts on Friday evening as France welcomes Ireland to the Stade Velodrome in Marseille for a huge battle between two of the fallen World Cup quarterfinalists.

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Saturday sees the other two matches take place, with Rome being the venue for the Italy versus England clash, before Wales and Scotland compete at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff that evening.

Italy and England have both now announced their squads for their upcoming match, with England in particular producing a much changed squad from that we saw in the World Cup. Italy, with a young, but experienced squad, have retained many of their World Cup players as they look to the future in an effort to improve their dismal Six Nations record.

The key aspect of the Italian side is the starting inclusion of Alessandro Garbisi at scrum half. This should provide an interesting combination as he lines up alongside brother Paolo, in the playmaking position.

Ahead of the match, new Italy head coach  Gonzalo Quesada, said: “It was an intense week of work. There is great enthusiasm throughout the group for their Six Nations debut. The staff and all the players showed great commitment trying to quickly immerse themselves in new methodologies.

“We will face the third team of RWC 2023 in an exciting tournament, at home in an Olympic Stadium that will make its support felt. Focus on our performance. We can’t wait to get on the field.”

Italy XV
15 Tommaso ALLAN (Perpignan, 79 caps)
14 Ange CAPUOZZO (Stade Toulousain, 16 caps)
13 Juan Ignacio BREX (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)
12 Tommaso MENONCELLO (Benetton Rugby, 12 caps)
11 Monty IOANE (Lyon 25 caps)
10 Paolo GARBISI (Montpellier, 31 caps)
9 Alessandro GARBISI (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
8 Lorenzo CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
7 Michele LAMARO (Benetton Rugby, 33 caps) – captain
6 Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 52 caps)
5 Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 49 caps)
4 Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 36 caps)
3 Pietro CECCARELLI (Perpignan, 31 caps)
2 Gianmarco LUCCHESI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
1 Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Parma, 36 caps)

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Replacements
16 Giacomo NICOTERA (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)
17 Mirco SPANISH (Benetton Rugby, debutant)
18 Giosuè ZILOCCHI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
19 Andrea ZAMBONIN (Zebre Parma, 3 caps)
20 Edoardo IACHIZZI (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
21 Manuel ZULIANI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
22 Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester, 24 caps)
23 Lorenzo PANI (Zebre Parma, 5 caps)

England on the contrary have elected for a side with mixed levels of experience, with many being given their first opportunities in an England shirt. This comes about after an injury hit build up for the squad which saw many of their first team players forced out prior to the tournament.

The big gaps in this side are mainly noticeable at 1o and 12, with no Ollie Lawrence, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell or Marcus Smith. Instead George Ford steps back in to control the game at ten, with exciting scrum half Alex Mitchell keeping ahold of the scrum half mantle. Northampton Saints player Fraser Dingwall steps in at inside centre for the first time in national colours, whilst returning Henry Slade takes his place back in the England midfield.

The back three of Elliot Daly, Freddie Steward and Tommy Freeman provides versatile options, whilst Immanuael Feyi-Waboso sits in wait from the bench for his first opportunity.

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Ben Earl leads the pack from the back, alongside newcomers Ethan Roots, and the in-form Sam Underhill. Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum reignite their quality partnership in the lock, with Joe Marler, captain Jamie George and Will Stuart returning to front row duties.

“After an excellent week’s preparation in Girona, we look forward to the challenge of playing Italy in Rome,” said Borthwick. ”

“The Azzurri are a dangerous team, with some talented ball carriers and players who like to find space. We’ll need to make good decisions, keep our discipline, and maintain a level of intensity to our performance from the first whistle to the last.”

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)
14. Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 57 caps)
12. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
11. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 64 caps)
10. George Ford (Sale Sharks, 91 caps) – vice captain
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 11 caps)
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 88 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 85 caps) – captain
3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 33 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 76 caps) – vice captain
5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps)
6. Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 30 caps)
8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 25 caps)

Replacements:
16. Theo Dan (Saracens, 7 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 58 caps) – vice captain
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 107 caps)
19. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
20. Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins, uncapped)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 96 caps)
22. Fin Smith (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
23. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)

 

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A post shared by England Rugby (@englandrugby)

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