Cokanasiga and Hughes named in England side for Six Nations



Ellis Genge starts at loosehead prop, forcing Ben Moon on to the bench, and Brad Shields displaces Mark Wilson at blindside flanker.

Tight-head prop Dan Cole and number eight Nathan Hughes are named among the replacements at Twickenham.

Italy has shown encouraging signs in relatively narrow defeats - at least compared to recent seasons - to Wales and Ireland in Rome, and is boosted by the return of captain Sergio Parisse and Sebastian Negri to the back row in hope of beating England for the first time.

England - 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Johnny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 George Kruis, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.

Replacements: 16-Ghiraldini, 17-Traore, 18-Pasquali, 19-Sisi, 20-Polledri, 21-Palazzani, 22-McKinley, 23-Castello. Might Eddie Jones loosen the style a bit against Italy? To ensure there is no let up, Jones has brought in the heavyweights in his backline, selecting Ben Te'o and Manu Tuilagi together at centre for the first time.

"Henry Slade, symbol of a slightly less confrontational approach, slides down to the bench".

O'Shea says that was a tactic born of necessity, due to Italy's inability to match England's fitness at the time. Italy coach Conor O'Shea has described the selection for tomorrow's Guinness Six Nations clash as Jones' "dream team", adding that it is a side of "absolutely enormous" dimensions. "They are fitter, physically stay in the contest a lot longer and are quite unpredictable in the way they attack".

"This is an Italy team that's preparing to win".

"We think we are going to have a real battle, real physicality from their centres. But we're sports people, we're competitive people".

"They wanted to fight with everyone and argue with everyone. I'll take the flak for any results".

Mind you, England won 37-21, with Joseph scoring two tries and Yarde one, so the moral of that story is not completely clear. "We're prepared for that and we're not underestimating them", Kruis said at England's training base in Bagshot, southwest of London.

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 file photo, Wales Cory Hill scores a try in the tackle of England's Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi, centre, during the Six Nations rugby union worldwide between Wales and England at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Jonny May appeared to sit out training on Friday but the Leicester wing, who has already scored four tries in the competition, is set to play as England aim to maintain their Six Nations title aspirations. Italy have made the fewest with 33.

Italy have lost their last 20 Six Nations matches - a Championship record.

Conor O'Shea's side have a goal-kicking success rate in this Six Nations of just 42.9%.

The Azzurri have conceded 29 penalties, the joint most so far along with Scotland.

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