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VIDEO - Mako in as Lancaster makes 5 changes

08 March 2013

  • Five changes as Head Coach reshuffles starting XV 
  • Saracens prop Vunipola to make first Test start


Mako Vunipola will make his first start for England in Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Italy at Twickenham Stadium (3pm, BBC One).

The Saracens prop, who has won seven caps off the bench, replaces Joe Marler (Harlequins) in one of five changes from the side that started against France.

Harlequins' Danny Care and Leicester Tigers man Toby Flood take over at half back from Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell respectively; Tom Youngs comes in for Dylan Hartley; and James Haskell is named at blind-side flanker in place of Courtney Lawes.

Tom Croft of Leicester Tigers returns to the matchday squad for the first time in 12 months following his recovery from a neck injury, while Gloucester Rugby's Freddie Burns joins him among the replacements as Farrell needs more time to return to full fitness.

England prop Mako Vunipola

Photo: Getty Images

England Head Coach Stuart 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 Team to face Italy

15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 9 caps)
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens, 32 caps)
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 14 caps)
11. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 14 caps)
10. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 39 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 7 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps)
4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 7 caps)
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 15 caps)
6. James Haskell (London Wasps, 48 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 15 caps)
8. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 16 caps)

16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 45 caps)
17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 24 caps) 
18. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 8 caps) 
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 18 caps)
20. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers, 36 caps) 
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps) 
22. Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
23. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps)


The latest episode of O2 Inside Line – the behind-the-scenes show from inside the England camp – is now out. To watch visit or text INSIDE to 61202


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