The Seven Changes England Should Make For Their Game Against Italy

Scotland v England - RBS Six Nations

We assess the performances of England’s players against Scotland and outline the six changes we think should be made ahead of their clash with Italy…

15.Mike Brown

It wasn’t his best game in an England shirt, but Brown remained solid at the back once more and showed some impressive flashes when running forward with ball in hand.

14.Anthony Watson

Watson showed some flashes of his brilliance against Scotland, but a lack of ball from the centres meant his opportunities were limited, but did enough to retain his place.

13.Jonathan Joseph

Joseph managed to banish some of the problems of his season so far with Bath with a decent outing in an England shirt where he was a constant threat when he got his hands on the ball.

12.Owen Farrell -> Ollie Devoto

The selection of Farrell at 12 made sense given the lack of alternatives right now, but this game once again proved that his talents are wasted in the centres as the ball didn’t get out wide much.

11.Jack Nowell

A try and some clever plays out wide ensured Nowell did more than enough to cement his place in the England starting line-up which should allow him to kick on again next week.

10.George Ford -> Owen Farrell

This is a tough call, but Ford looked a little short of confidence which is no surprise given Bath’s struggles this season, where as Farrell has been in sublime form at 10 for Saracens.

9.Danny Care

Care was solid if unspectacular for England against Scotland so needs to be given the chance to show his best form when England’s pack can give him a better platform to play off.

8.Billy Vunipola

One of the few outstanding players on the pitch, Vunipola has firmly cemented his place in the starting XV for the foreseeable future after a number of impressive carries.

7.James Haskell -> Matt Kvesic

It wasn’t much of a game for turnovers, however when you contrast Haskell’s play with John Hardie yesterday it becomes clear England need to have a proper openside starting.

6.Chris Robshaw

Robshaw had a mostly quiet game against Scotland, but went about his business efficiently and deserves another start at six given his form for Harlequins so far this season.

5.Joe Launchbury

Launchbury didn’t have his best game in an England shirt, which wasn’t helped by an injury forcing him off early, but he needs more time to get back to his best form.

4.George Kruis

A try, and an impressive showing at the line out means Kruis is currently England’s stand out lock, and must therefore be one of the first names on the team sheet now.

3.Dan Cole

Cole had a mixed game once more for England this weekend, however given the lack of match fit alternatives, it’s hard to see who could replace him in the starting XV.

2.Dylan Hartley

He came in for plenty of flack after being named captain, however Hartley proved that he is more than up to the task with a solid performance for England.

1.Joe Marler -> Mako Vunipola

Marler was another who had a mixed game, particularly at the scrum, however Vunipola came on and made a big difference so deserves to get the not to start this time.

16.Jamie George

George came on with just three minutes left of the game so it’s hard to judge his performance, but at the very least he deserves more time off the bench next week against Italy.

17.Mako Vunipola -> Joe Marler

With Vunipola stepping into the starting shirt at loosehead, Marler moves to the bench where he can come on and use his considerable experience to help close out the game is necessary.

18.Paul Hill -> Kieran Brookes

Given Hill wasn’t trusted to come on for Cole who wasn’t at his best, it’s vital to get Brookes back involved, even if just for twenty minutes to get his international match sharpness back.

19.Courtney Lawes -> Maro Itoje

Lawes came on and was largely ineffective for England, therefore it seems like the ideal opportunity to give Itoje his international debut off the bench.

20.Jack Clifford

Clifford showed a few flashes of his talent after coming on against Scotland, but needs more time off the bench next time around against Italy as he can cover the whole back row.

21.Ben Youngs

Given there are currently only two scrum halves in the squad this is inevitable, but Youngs form this season means he is more than worth his spot on the bench again next week.

22.Ollie Devoto -> George Ford

With Farrell moving to 10, and Devoto being given a chance in the centres, Ford drops to the bench after having a largely indifferent game for England at Murrayfield.

23.Alex Goode -> Elliot Daly

With Daly able to cover most positions in the backs, and currently in the form of his life, it’s vital now that Daly is given a decent run during the second half against Italy.

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