England revert to Ford-Farrell partnership against Italy

England coach Eddie Jones has picked George Ford at flyhalf in one of five changes to his side as they look to bounce back against Italy on Saturday.

Ford was on the bench as England slipped to a historic loss to Scotland at Twickenham last Saturday, which was the first time he had not started since the 2019 World Cup quarter-finals.

However, the 27-year-old is back at flyhalf, with captain Owen Farrell shifting to inside centre and youngster Ollie Lawrence dropping out of the team as a result. 21-year-old Lawrence can count himself unfortunate to have been left out of the match-day 23, given how few opportunities he had with ball in hand last weekend.

In the pack, there is a new front row as loosehead prop Mako Vunipola returns to the starting lineup, despite having not played since November last year due to injury. Tighthead prop Kyle Sinkler has returned from suspension, while Luke Cowan-Dickie will make just his fourth start as he replaces regular hooker Jamie George.

Courtney Lawes has been named to start at blindside flank, while Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola continue in the back row.

Jones has opted for a six-two split on the bench, as Ben Earl and Jack Willis will provide backup at loose forward. Scrumhalf Dan Robson and flyhalf Max Malins are the only two backline replacements.

England 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinkler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Jack Willis, 22 Dan Robson, 23 Max Malins.

ALSO READ: What’s in our latest issue?

Subscribe here

Photo: Getty Images