England confirm squad for Six Nations opener against Italy

Ben Te'o returns to England line-up
Ben Te'o returns to England line-up

England coach Eddie Jones has handed a start to Worcester Warriors centre Ben Te'o for the upcoming Six Nations encounter against Italy to be played on Sunday.

Te'o last played an international game during the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in July and was sidelined for the autumn internationals with an ankle injury. He was expected to miss the start of the Six Nations tournament but made sufficient recovery during his rehabilitation in Australia to make in time for the game against Italy.

Sam Simmons has been named at number eight with Courtney Lawes and Chris Robshaw in the back-row. Te'o will partner Owen Farrell in the midfield while Ben Youngs and George Ford form the half-back. Jonny May, Anthony Watson and Mike Brown form the back three while Exeter's Alec Hepburn finds a place on the bench.

“I have selected the strongest available side to play Italy this weekend and the players are excited to play in Rome," said England coach Eddie Jones.

“Our preparation over the last two weeks has been excellent and the players feel refreshed. We want to start the tournament well and are ready to go hunting against Italy.

“We know we need to get our set piece right, be defensively strong and play with aggression and plenty of energy.”

England XV to face Italy: Brown; Watson, Te'o, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Simmonds.

Replacements: George, Hepburn, Williams, Kruis, Underhill, Care, Joseph, Nowell

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