Search icon


11th Feb 2022

Eddie Jones makes raft of changes to England team to face Italy

Patrick McCarry

Six Nations

Eddie Jones trying out some new combinations and giving prospects a chance to shine.

Jones has named a much-changed England team to the one that lost the Six Nations opener to Scotland, but it is still full of class acts and players with points to prove.

The England head coach has made eight changes to his starting XV, with two in his front row, and tweaks to his second- and back-row, with Harry Randall, Jack Nowell and Joe Marchant coming into the backline.

Elliot Daly, Kyle Sinckler, Ben Youngs and Sam Simmonds all drop to the bench after starting in the 20-17 loss to Scotland. The same goes for hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, who was yellow-carded in that game and conceded a penalty same with the same, rash play.

England team

Maro Itoje switches to England back row

Harry Randall and Marcus Smith make up a youthful half-back combination, with Henry Slade being retained at inside centre for his experience and play-making capabilities.

Maro Itoje switches from second row to blindside, with Bath’s Charlie Ewels drafted in to the second row. Captain Tom Curry starts at openside again, while Alex Dombrandt gets the No.8 shirt from Simmonds.

Joe Marchant gets his chance in the 13 jersey, again, while Saracens’ Elliot Daly drops to the bench as backline cover. Ellis Genge is the only front row member to retain his starting spot for Sunday’s game against Italy, in Rome. The Italians pushed France close in their opener before falling off with their challenge in the closing stages.

“We’ve set ourselves the target of playing really well and lighting up Rome,” said Jones. “We’ve made some changes and this is the best side to face Italy. We want to start fast and take the game to them.

“They can be a dangerous team and have some very good players in the likes of Garbisi, Negri and Lamaro. It’s been a difficult week, but the players have bounced back well, trained hard and are ready to put on a good performance on Sunday.”


15. Freddie Steward
14. Max Malins
13. Joe Marchant
12. Henry Slade
11. Jack Nowell
10. Marcus Smith
9. Harry Randall

1. Ellis Genge
2. Jamie George
3. Will Stuart
4. Charlie Ewels
5. Nick Isiekwe
6. Maro Itoje
7. Tom Curry
8. Alex Dombrandt

REPLACEMENTS: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Ollie Chessum, 20. Sam Simmonds, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. George Ford, 23. Elliot Daly