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Watson starts on the wing for England against Italy

2 February 2018

Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson will start on the right wing for England in their NatWest Six Nations opener against Italy on Sunday, kick-off 15:00 (GMT). 

His Club teammates Jonathan Joseph and Sam Underhill have been named among the replacements, as Eddie Jones' side get their title defence underway in Rome.  

Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) captains an experienced side with 689 caps across the starting 15 in what will be his 90th Test for England.
 
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) will partner Owen Farrell (Saracens) in the centres after nearly a year’s absence from the England side.
 
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) starts at number eight for his fourth cap while fellow club mate Alec Hepburn could make his England debut having been named as a finisher.
 
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) will start his 56th Test match overtaking Matt Dawson’s record of most starts for an England halfback. Danny Care (Harlequins) will equal Dawson for most caps as scrum half (77) if the finisher plays a role in the match.
 
Head coach Eddie Jones said: “I have selected the strongest available side to play Italy this weekend and the players are excited to play in Rome.
 
“Our preparation over the last two weeks has been excellent and the players feel refreshed. We want to start the tournament well and are ready to go hunting against Italy.
 
“We know we need to get our set piece right, be defensively strong and play with aggression and plenty of energy.”  
 
England team to face Italy
 
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins 64 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 28 caps)
13 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 8 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens 53 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers 29 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 40 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers 73 caps)
 
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 44 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints 89 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 77 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 47 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens 14 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 61 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 59 caps)
8 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs 3 caps)
 
Finishers

16 Jamie George (Saracens 20 caps)
17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs uncapped)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs 5 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens 21 caps)
20 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 3 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins 76 caps)
22 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 35 caps)
23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs 23 caps)

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