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Cokanasiga starts for England against Italy

7 March 2019

Bath Rugby's Joe Cokanasiga will start on the right wing for England against Italy at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 16:45).

Cokanasiga will earn his fourth cap for his country after coming of the bench in the last round against Wales. The Bath winger is one of five changes, with Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) at inside centre and Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) moving to outside centre. 

 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers) starts at loose head prop with Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) shifting to the bench. Joe Launchbury (Wasps) is named in the second row following the injury of Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) in Cardiff. Brad Shields (Wasps) will start at blindside flanker with Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) named as a finisher.
 
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) and Nathan Hughes (Wasps) are both named as finishers having not been involved in England’s previous match against Wales.
 
Eddie Jones said: “We have had a good preparation ahead of Italy with a great week in Oxford where we competed against Georgia for two days. Players have had a good break and have come back into camp reenergised and refocused for what is an important game for us.”
  
He added: “Italy is a bit of an unknown quantity but when Conor allows them to play rugby they play well. They have played terrific games in the Six Nations. They are fitter, physically stay in the contest a lot longer and they are quite unpredictable in the way they attack.
 
“We expect Italy to throw the ball around a bit so we are going to have to defend very well against their unpredictability and when we have got the ball, we have to use it wisely.”
 
On returning to Twickenham, Jones said: “We are looking forward to getting back to Twickenham. We haven’t played there since the France game so it will be nice to play in front of our home crowd.”

England team to face Italy 

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 28 caps)
14 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps) 
12 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 16 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 43 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 68 caps) (captain)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 83 caps)
1 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)  
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 35 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 20 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 56 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 30 caps)
6 Brad Shields (Wasps, 6 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 8 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 39 caps)
 
Finishers 

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps)
17 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 6 caps)
18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 83 caps)
19 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 20 caps)
20 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 11 caps)
21 Dan Robson (Wasps, 1 cap)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)
23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 20 caps)

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