Italy have never beaten England and as such the hosts are clear favorites for today’s game. Italy are improving though and it wouldn’t be a shock to see them asking more questions of this England side at Twickenham than before.
However, history is certainly not on the side of the Italians. These two teams have faced each other 29 times, with England winning all those encounters. In addition, the total number of points scored by both teams in the 16 head-to-head matches at Twickenham stands at 720 for England compared to 190 for Italy.
Steve Borthwick will say all the right things in the run-up, but in private he knows this is a must-win game, even this early in his tenure as England head coach, and the sort of game his side should win by an impressive margin if they have serious ambitions of a Six Nations title, especially after their opening game loss to Scotland.
When and where is England v Italy?
This second round match takes place at Twickenham today, with kick-off at 3pm (GMT).
In the other matches in the second weekend of the championship, Ireland beat France and Scotland hammers Wales.
What TV channel is England v Italy on?
The match will be broadcast on ITV.
Who is in the England team?
England have broken up their contentious playmaking ashes of Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell as part of a revamped midfield. Having started the last eight Tests together, Smith has been relegated to the bench to house Owen Farrell’s selection at fly-half rather than centre.
Borthwick completed a major midfield overhaul, replacing Joe Marchant with Henry Slade off-centre, with Ollie Lawrence filling the vacancy at age 12.
Slade has recovered from the hip injury that forced him to sit out the 29-23 Calcutta Cup first round defeat as the running back Lawrence is promoted off the bench.
Only one change has been made to the pack, with turner specialist Jack Willis replacing Ben Curry at openside flanker for his first start since suffering a horrific knee injury in the same race two years ago.
Henry Arundell is on the verge of winning his fourth cap after being named to the bench where he will cover three times, the ankle injury that forced him to miss the fall is now fully healed.
ridges: F Steward (Leicester); M Malins (Saracens), H Slade (Exeter), O Lawrence (Bath), O Hassell-Collins (London Irish); O Farrell (Saracen, capt), J Van Poortvliet (Leicester); Forward: E Genge (Bristol), J George (Saracens), K Sinckler (Bristol), M Itoje (Saracens), O Chessum (Leicester), L Ludlam (Northampton), J Willis (Toulouse), A Dombrandt (Harlequins).
Replacements: J Walker (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), D Cole (Leicester), N Isiekwe (Saracens), B Earl (Saracens), A Mitchell (Northampton), M Smith (Harlequins), H Arundell (London Irish).
What will Italy’s starting XV look like?
Here it is:
What’s the latest news?
Henry Arundell is propped up to shine at international level as England put him to good use in his first Twickenham outing on Sunday.
England’s temporary attacking coach Nick Evans has urged his side not to waste Arundell’s talent on the Italians, who are trying to get their Six Nations campaign back on track after the opening 29-23 defeat to Scotland last weekend.
Arundell is back on matchday 23 after playing just half an hour of rugby since October, but he’s only 20 and expected to perform after 26 minutes of Test action.
He was used off the bench three times last summer on tour of Australia, where he scored with his first touch in international rugby in Perth, and already has a long list of outstanding tries to his credit.
“He’s special, very special,” said Evans. “Every time he gets the ball it looks like he’s going to break a tackle. He reacts instinctively and that’s brilliant. It’s all about getting the ball into space and trying to create a-v-ones for him Hopefully he will get a chance and we will try to give him the ball as much as possible
“It’s like all these quality players, they’re probably uncoachable in terms of how they feel the game and the way they react to certain situations and Henry is part of that. The one-on-one is something he tries very hard is working on and it’s a superpower of his. The important thing is that he can go out and show us why he’s here in the first place.”
Evans is used to Twickenham, winning Premierships as a player and coach at Harlequins and being involved in some of their big games, but it’s a new venue for Arundell.
Evans’ day job is just over the road at the Stoop where he is assistant to Tabai Matson at Quins and will return them at the end of the Six Nations when this current secondment expires.
But he refused to rule out the chance of him making another England appearance, possibly even ahead of the World Cup to rejoin Steve Borthwick’s staff.
Borthwick recently moved back to his old club Leicester to recruit Aled Walters as head of S&C in England and Richard Wigglesworth as assistant coach ahead of France 2023.
But the RFU statement announcing the double signing did not name Wigglesworth as offensive coach – he oversaw Canada’s 2019 defense in Japan – leaving a potential opening for Evans.
The New Zealander added: “I’m here for the Six Nations and then I’m going back to Quins. I’m proud to be in both camps at the moment and we’ll see what happens from there. I’m alone focused on doing my best.” to England and the country. Then go back to Quins and do the exact same thing for my club.”
Who is the referee?
Referee: James Doleman (NZR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathieu Raynal (FFR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tual Trainini (FFR)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (FFR)
What happened in this luminaire in 2022?
Italy failed to score a point against England in an error-strewn 33-0 defeat at Stadio Olimpico. Read Telegraph Sport’s full coverage of the match here.
What are the latest opportunities?
To draw: 66/1
The odds are correct as of February 12
What is our prediction?
A first win for the Borthwick side, with a big step up in performance and a comfortable victory, despite Italy’s progress.
Predicted score: England 32 Italy 13