Six Nations: Stuart Lancaster rotates his England team for clash with Italy

Last Updated: 10/03/13 2:45pm

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England coach Stuart Lancaster has made five changes to his team for Sunday's Six Nations clash with Italy, with Mako Vunipola handed his first start.

The Saracens prop replaces Joe Marler in the front row, and two further changes in the pack see Tom Youngs replace Dylan Hartley and James Haskell return at blindside flanker in place of Courtney Lawes.

Owen Farrell's thigh injury rules him out of the squad, so Toby Flood starts at fly-half with Danny Care taking over from Ben Youngs at scrum-half.

There is big news for England on the bench where Tom Croft is named in an England squad for the first time in 12 months following his recovery from a neck injury.

Farrell's injury means Gloucester's rising star Freddie Burns is named on the bench to provide cover for Flood.


Lancaster said: "We were very happy with the way we finished the France game. The impact the replacements made shows that we have competition for places across the board and we have had to make some tight calls.

"Italy will be highly motivated for this game and we will have to perform for the full 80 minutes. I am sure those starting will seize their chance and the bench will also have a significant part to play as the game goes on.

"The support at Twickenham for the Scotland and France games was superb and I am sure the atmosphere will be fantastic again for our final home match of the Championship."

England: 15 A Goode, 15 C Ashton, 13 M Tuilagi, 12 B Barritt, 11 M Brown, 10 T Flood, 9 D Care, 1 M Vunipola, 2 T Youngs, 3 D Cole, 4 J Launchbury, 5 G Parling, 6 J Haskell, 7 C Robshaw, 8 T Wood.
Replacements: 16 D Hartley, 17 D Wilson, 18 J Marler, 19 C Lawes, 20 T Croft, 21 B Youngs, 22 F Burns, 23 B Twelvetrees

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