England's injury problems clear up for Six Nations opener

Italy opted for unorthodox tactics in last year's fixture at Twickenham

Italy opted for unorthodox tactics in last year's fixture at Twickenham

New Zealand centre Ben Te'o will play his first England Test for nearly a year after overcoming an ankle injury to be included in the Six Nations match against Italy.

ROME - England's injury problems have cleared up ahead of the opening match of its Six Nations rugby title defence, with Mike Brown, Ben Te'o, Chris Robshaw and Maro Itoje all fit to start against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

Youngs was supposed to be celebrating his 56th start for England that took him past Matt Dawson's record at scrum-half.

Youngs was injured just nine minutes into the 46-15 victory on the opening weekend of the Six Nations when his left leg was trapped as he passed from the back of a ruck. "Life is full of contradictions", said Eddie Jones in an acknowledgement that Simmonds had contradicted his coach's original assessment that he may not be big enough for a No 8. "It looks like a ligament injury".

Owen Farrell missed the first two conversions but he racked up England's third try and added the extras on that occasion as well as on his next three attempts.

England hit back five minutes later when Farrell played a one-two with No10 Ford and converted his own score to spark the Stadio Olimpico's first rendition of the afternoon of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

The Azzurri refused to roll over and kept the scoreline down until three tries in the final 12 minutes - from Simmonds, George Ford and Jack Nowell.

Jones has suggested that the in-form Lawes could be switched to flanker when England begin their Six Nations campaign against Italy on Sunday, having praised the upturn in the Northampton Saint's consistency over the past few years. "It was always going to be a hard team to play, sun shining, plenty to play for".

Italy responded through Tommaso Benvenuti's try which Tommaso Allan converted along with a penalty before the break. "The tournament (is) only going to get better". "I'm proud because I think we saw a team that has a lot of potential out there for the future and played some really good rugby against a great side".

Since 2010, Scotland have lost 15 of their 17 away games in the Six Nations, with their only two victories in that period coming against Italy.

A minute later Watson had his second try with Ford linking up with Jonny May to sear through midfield before releasing his fellow wing to superbly dive over in the corner.

While seven tries, including an impressively-taken double for both Anthony Watson and Sam Simmonds, against a callow Italian side is pretty much par for this particular fixture in recent times, coach Eddie Jones will have seen enough to be reassured his side, particularly with ball in hand, are heading in the right direction.

Latest News