TOP BAR - Fixtures

Jones names England team to play Italy in Newcastle

Jones names England team to play Italy in Newcastle

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his side to play in the Quilter International against Italy on Friday at St James’ Park in Newcastle (KO 19:45 live on Sky Sports).

A mix and match selection strategy sees Harlequins’ Joe Marchant named at outside centre with Piers Francis of Northampton Saints at inside centre. Saracens’ Owen Farrell, who captains the team, starts at fly-half while debutant Ruaridh McConnochie is named on the right wing with Bath Rugby teammate Anthony Watson at fullback.

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) starts alongside Jamie George (Saracens) and Joe Marler (Harlequins) in the front row with Joe Launchbury (Wasps) and Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) named as the lock pairing. Mark Wilson – who is on loan at Sale Sharks from Newcastle Falcons – will start at openside flanker with Tom Curry (Sale Sharks) and Billy Vunipola (Saracens) making up the rest of the back row.

Jones said: “We are delighted to be playing against Italy, one of our traditional Six Nations rivals and the game for us is another important step to develop our game fitness and game strategy. We have gone with a mix and match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation.

“We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday night. Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan.”

This is the first England Test match to be played at St James’ Park in Newcastle which hosted three Rugby World Cup fixtures in 2015.

Jones added: “We are excited to be playing in Newcastle. We are playing at an iconic football ground and we know the area is an important one for rugby in the northern part of England. We are looking forward to seeing and playing in front of the fans.”

England starting XV v Italy

15 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 35 caps)
14 Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 2 caps)
12 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 7 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 46 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 72 caps) C
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 88 caps)

1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 61 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 39 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 88 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 60 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 74 caps)
6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 12 caps)
7 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks, 14 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 44 caps)

Finishers
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 11 caps )
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 24 caps)
19 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 11 caps)
20 Matt Kvesic (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 58 caps)
23 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)

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