Saints pair Hartley and Lawes named for England’s Italian job

Courtney Lawes starts for England against Italy
Courtney Lawes starts for England against Italy

Saints stars Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes will start for England against Italy at Twickenham on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

And Tom Wood is also set to be involved as he is named among the replacements.

England, captained by Hartley, will be seeking their third win in as many Six Nations matches, having already beaten France and Wales.

And head coach Eddie Jones said: “We have had a good two-week preparation for Italy and we’re ready to go.”

“We trained very well in the city last week and this week the training has been very impressive.

“The boys are really on song, we have had great competition for places, and we’ve picked a very strong 23 to play against Italy.

“Selection was tough. Ben Te’o at 13 gives us another way of playing the game and we are excited about seeing him, George Ford and Owen Farrell play together in the midfield.

“Ben Youngs has been outstanding for us at number nine, but Danny Care gets the starting jersey this week. For the first half he’ll give us a lot of speed and running at the base of the ruck as well as the scrum. Ben will then come on and finish the game.

“Tom Wood has been great for us at seven, and Jack Clifford did well against Wales but James Haskell has the starting role on Sunday; he has come back to a much better level of fitness and we are sure his explosive actions will help us in the first part of the game.

“It is an important Test match for us and our only consideration is to play well. Italy have a proud record in Test rugby, they beat South Africa in November, and we will not underestimate them.

“I know the Twickenham crowd will give Owen Farrell a big cheer. To reach 50 caps at such a young age is a fine achievement. The one thing I know about Owen is that his next 50 are going to be more impressive than his first.”

England team v Italy: Brown; May, Te’o, Farrell, Daly; Ford, Care; Marler, Hartley (c), Cole, Launchbury, Lawes; Itoje, Haskell, Hughes. Replacements: George, M Vunipola, Wood, Clifford, B Youngs, Slade, Nowell.