Six Nations 2012: England remain unchanged for Italy trip
Stuart Lancaster names an unchanged England squad to face Italy on Saturday after last weekend's victory at Murraryfield
Stuart Lancaster has named an unchanged England side to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
The interim head coach handed debuts to seven players in England’s 13-6 Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend, and the 42-year-old is keeping faith with the same side for the trip to Rome.
“We have had a good week in spite of the weather and reflected on the game, reviewed and learnt from it and will look to improve the quality of our performance this week,” said Lancaster, whose squad travel to Rome on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s match.
“We have decided to leave the starting team the same to allow them more time to gel together and we are expecting our bench to come on and make an impact as they did last week.”
Italy, who suffered a 30-12 defeat by France in their Six Nations opener, have recalled Marco Bortolami and Gonzalo Canale for the clash against England.
And Lancaster admits his side face a tough assignment against an experienced Italian side.
“Italy will be a very difficult challenge with nearly 700 caps in their starting line-up and it promises to be an outstanding occasion at the sold-out Stadio Olimpico,” he added.
England: Ben Foden; Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell, David Strettle, Charlie Hodgson, Ben Youngs; Alex Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Mouritz Botha, Tom Palmer, Tom Croft, Chris Robshaw (captain), Phil Dowson.
Replacements: Rob Webber, Matt Stevens, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson , Jordan Turner-Hall, Mike Brown.
Italy: Andrea Masi; Giovanbattista Venditti, Tommaso Benvenuti, Gonzalo Canale, Luke McLean, Kristopher Burton, Edoardo Gori; Andrea Lo Cicero, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Martin Castrogiovanni, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami, Alessandro Zanni, Robert Barbieri, Sergio Parisse.
Replacements: Tommaso D’Apice, Lorenzo Cittadini, Antonio Pavanello, Mauro Bergamasco, Fabio Semenzato, Tobias Botes, Luca Morisi.