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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...