England makes 3 changes for Italy in 6 Nations
England recalled scrumhalf Ben Youngs, lock Courtney Lawes, and prop Mako Vunipola for the Six Nations match away to Italy on Sunday, as coach Eddie Jones looks for a second straight win to begin his tenure.
Danny Care, Joe Launchbury, and Joe Marler made way in the three changes to the team that started the hard-fought 15-9 win in Scotland on Saturday.
Highly rated, uncapped lock Maro Itoje was brought onto the bench, which has a 6-2 split in favour of the forwards, suggesting Jones expects a tough battle up front in Rome.
Italy lost 23-21 to France in their first match after conceding a late penalty that was converted from long range.
England has won all of its 21 games against the Azzurri.
"This is the strongest 23 to go to Rome and get the performance and result we want," said Jones, who was hired in November after England failed to get out of its pool in the Rugby World Cup. "Mako, Ben, and Courtney have been pushing hard for selection during training, but they also fit the game plan we want to implement against Italy.
"Italy took France very close last weekend in Paris so they'll be fired up."
England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (captain), Mako Vunipola, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis, Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Billy Vunipola.
Reserves: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Paul Hill, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Alex Goode.