Six Nations 2014: England prop Joe Marler a doubt for Italy game with partner due to give birth

Stuart Lancaster keeps faith with the team that saw off Wales last weekend

England have named Manu Tuilagi on the bench for their final match of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

Tuilagi will make his first appearance for England in a year after recovering from the torn pectoral muscle that kept him out for six months.

The British and Irish Lion has played just 70 minutes for his club Leicester since regaining fitness, but head coach Stuart Lancaster deems him ready for England's final assault on the title.

Tuilagi can cover centre and wing and has replaced Alex Goode on the bench in the only change to the 23 that defeated champions Wales 29-18 on Sunday.

"It's great to be able to name an unchanged XV and we have been able to achieve consistency of selection in a very competitive squad this campaign," Lancaster said.

With Goode removed from the bench, wings Jack Nowell and Jonny May are on standby to provide cover for Mike Brown at full-back if needed.

Tuilagi could have been fast-tracked into the matchday 23 that secured the Triple Crown against Wales at Twickenham, but Lancaster felt he needed another week in camp before being plunged into action.

England head to Rome with the primary objective of defeating Italy, but must also overhaul Ireland's imposing points superiority in case the Six Nations title is decided by that measure.

Manu Tuilagi has returned to the England squad after injury Manu Tuilagi has returned to the England squad after injury  

France also remain in the hunt for Wales' crown - they host Brian O'Driscoll's men in Paris in the climax to the tournament - but with Ireland 49 ahead of England on points difference, they have established a near-unassailable lead.

Mindful of the explosive impact Tuilagi could have on a tiring Italian defence, Lancaster has called up the destructive 22-year-old to reinforce the final push for the first major piece of silverware of his two-year reign as head coach.

 

England, who have finished Six Nations runners-up for the last two seasons, need a deluge of tries at the Stadio Olimpico and it is hoped Tuilagi's power will be influential in the attempted points grab.

"The Wales result was very significant for us but we need to finish the tournament well in Rome," Lancaster said.

"We have had a tight turnaround and the key this week has been to manage the players' recovery and get them in the best shape for what will be a tough match against Italy."

Wasps prop Matt Mullan and Bath centre Kyle Eastmond will travel with the squad to Rome as 24th and 25th men.

Lancaster announced there could be a late change to the line-up as the partner of loosehead prop Joe Marler is due to give birth to their first child.

If Marler is unable to make it to Rome in time for the captain's run on Friday afternoon, Mako Vunipola will be promoted to the starting XV with Mullan taking his position on the bench.

"Joe's partner is in labour as we speak so we're waiting to see how that goes. We'll make a decision on Friday," Lancaster said.

"He's got to be at the captain's run. I spoke to Joe this morning and the good thing is we have a British and Irish Lion on the bench in Mako, who wants to start.

"Matt played in the autumn internationals and is a good player to come in on the bench."

Lancaster is pleased that Tuilagi is available to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

"Manu has had that extra week's training he needed, so he's ready. He's a good player," he said.

England prevailed 19-15 in Rome two years ago and 18-11 in the return fixture at Twickenham last season - two narrow wins that have made Lancaster cautious over targeting anything other than victory.

"Winning is the priority. We went to Rome two years ago and it was very difficult," he said.

"Italy beat France in the Six Nations last year and Ireland struggled.

"Even Australia struggled in 2012. It's not an easy place to go and get points, and we know what's coming.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to finish the Six Nations on a high. We want to back up our recent good performances.

"The character we've shown throughout has been outstanding. The attitude has been the best I've known."

ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE ITALY

M Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), L Burrell (Northampton), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), J May (Gloucester); O Farrell (Saracens), D Care (Harlequins); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Gloucester).

Replacements: T Youngs (Leicester), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Thomas (Sale), D Attwood (Bath), T Johnson (Exeter), L Dickson (Northampton), G Ford (Bath), M Tuilagi (Leicester).

PA

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness