England vs Italy Six Nations match preview: What time does it start and where can I watch it?

A look ahead to the Six Nations clash at Twickenham this weekend

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The Independent Online

Jonathan Joseph and George Kruis are set to win their first Twickenham starts against Italy on Saturday after England coach Stuart Lancaster named an unchanged side.

Joseph keeps his place in the midfield after an encouraging Six Nations debut in Cardiff, which he capped off with a scintillating solo try in the second half. Kruis is also set to win his second Six Nations cap after emulating his impressive autumn form in last Friday night's victory.

The England bench also remains unchanged. Lancaster has resisted the temptation to recall Kyle Eastmond and Brad Barritt, after the duo returned to training this week.

Geoff Parling was expected to return to the match-day squad as second-row cover, at the expense of Nick Easter or Tom Croft. But the British and Irish Lions lock has failed to recover from a knee injury.

 

Last week, England’s injury-depleted outfit surprised many by overpowering a settled Wales side at the Millennium Stadium but this Saturday they are expected to record a routine victory of the Azzurri.

Since Lancaster took over in 2012, England have finished second in every Six Nations championship and after losing last year’s title to Ireland on points difference, they will be looking to pile on the points at home against the wooden spoon holders.

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Joseph keeps his place after his impressive showing last week

Jacques Brunel has made four changes to the side that were beaten by Ireland last Saturday, as Italy look to register their first Test-match triumph over England.

Mauro Bergamasco is set to win his 101st cap, after he was recalled to replace the injured Alessandro Zanni in the back row. Alberto De Marchi returns to the front row at the expense of Matias Aguero while Joshua Furno drops to the bench to make way for former captain Marco Bortolami, who will play his 111th Test.

Bortolami and Bergamasco will pack down with two more centurions, as Martin Castrogiovanni will claim his 109th cap and captain Sergio Parisse will his 110th, with Italy’s starting pack boasting a grand total of 542 caps.

Michele Campagnaro’s injury has prompted Brunel to reshuffle his backline. Luca Morisi shifts to outside centre to replace Campagnaro, while Andrea Masi moves from full back to inside centre. Luke Mclean switches to full back as Giovanbattista Venditti starts on the left wing.

The experienced Italians defended resolutely in Rome last Saturday and kept Ireland from crossing over for just over an hour, despite a distinct lack of possession. But Ireland’s superior fitness proved the difference as they pulled away in the final quarter and England will be confident that they can also kick on in the closing stages, after their relentless second-half showing in Cardiff.

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Luke Mclean moves to full-back

TEAMS:

England: Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole; Dave Attwood, George Kruis; James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Kieran Brookes, Nick Easter, Tom Croft, Richard Wigglesworth, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees.

Italy: Luke McLean; Leonardo Sarto, Luca Morisi, Andrea Masi, Giovanbattista Venditti; Kelly Haimona, Edoardo Gori; Alberto DeMarchi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Martin Castrogiovanni; George Biagi, Marco Bortolami; Francesco Minto, Mauro Bergamasco, Sergio Parisse.

Replacements: Andrea Manici, Matias Aguero, Dario Chistolini, Joshua Furno, Samuela Vunisa, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Allan, Giulio Bisegni

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 14.30

PAST THREE MEETINGS:

Italy 11 England 52, Six Nations, March 2014

England 18 Italy 11, Six Nations, March 2013

Italy 15 England 19, Six Nations, February 2012

STATS:

England have won all 20 of their previous meetings with Italy

England's starting XV contains 373 caps while Italy’s has 782

Italy have won just one of their last 12 Test matches

ODDS:

England to win: 1.005

Italy to win: 17.0

Draw: 46.0

CLASSIC MOMENTS/MATCH:

England made two first-half errors which gifted Italy with two tries in as many minutes. The hosts lead 15-6 and as the snow began to fall, the men in white looked lost. England ventured forward and were once again turned over in Italian territory, but when Andrea Masi went to clear his lines, Charlie Hodgson pounced on him, charged down the kick, collected the loose ball and scored to give England a lifeline. Owen Farrell slotted the conversion and two more penalties to give England the win.

TV: Live on BBC 1 at 14.30

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