- Get up to speed on when, where and how to watch Italy vs England
- Read about the key battles and quotes from each camp
Avenging their 2013 Millennium Stadium mauling on Sunday, Stuart Lancaster’s side clinched a first Triple Crown for 11 years. But an intrepid team of youngsters can go one better in Rome. Should they beat the Azzurri by enough to wipe out a 49-point deficit to Ireland – who themselves finsh the tournament Paris – the RBS 6 Nations Championship is theirs.
However, though England have never been beaten by Italy, their past three trips have seen victory margins of four, five and four points respectively. Centurion Sergio Parisse is back to lead he hosts and 80,000 fans in the Stadio Olimpico will not make life easy. The wooden spoon may await Jacques Brunel’s boys, but they will not bow out without a fight.
Photo: Getty Images
When? Saturday, March 15
Where? Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off? 12.30pm GMT
How to keep up with the action
- Live on BBC 1 from 12.15pm. Regular updates on BBC Five Live
- Live text commentary on the free RFU iPhone app (search iTunes for Official RFU)
- Live score updates from @EnglandRugby on Twitter
- Match report, post-match interviews and highlights on RFU.com
Italy: 15. Luke McLean, 14. Angelo Esposito, 13. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Gonzalo Garcia, 11. Leonardo Sarto, 10. Luciano Orquera, 9. Tito Tebaldi; 1. Matias Aguero, 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3. Lorenzo Cittadini, 4. Quintin Geldenhuys, 5. Marco Bortolami, 6. Joshua Furno, 7. Robert Barbieri, 8. Sergio Parisse (captain).
Photo: Getty Images
Replacements: 16. Davide Giazzon, 17. Michele Rizzo, 18. Alberto de Marchi, 19. George Biagi, 20. Paul Derbyshire, 21. Edoardo Gori, 22. Tommaso Allan, 23. Andrea Masi.
England: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Luther Burrell, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Jonny May, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Danny Care; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. David Wilson, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. Tom Wood, 7. Chris Robshaw (captain), 8. Ben Morgan.
Replacements: 16. Tom Youngs, 17. Matt Mullan, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Tom Johnson, 21. Lee Dickson, 22. George Ford, 23. Manu Tuilagi.
- March 2013: England 18 Italy 11, Twickenham
- February 2012: Italy 15 Enlgland 19, Rome
- February 2011: England 59 Italy 13, Twickenham
- February 2010: Italy 12 England 17, Rome
- February 2009: England 36 Italy 11, Twickenham
Segio Parisse vs Ben Morgan: Parisse is far more than a captain for Italy. For so long to Azzurri’s only player of genuine, consistent class, his broad shoulders have at times carried this side over the course of his 104-Test career. Sublime, deft handling combine with astounding athleticism to make him a truly outstanding talent – one that England will have to nullify at source. That said, Ben Morgan’s stock has risen rapidly in the past three weeks. Energetic and industrious off the bench against Ireland, the Gloucester Rugby No.8 turned it on for a full 80-minute shift during the win over Wales. An immensely powerful carrier, he also turned up in midfield to link a second wave of runners – crucial to England’s attacking shape. This tussle should be intriguing.
Photo: Getty Images
Mako Vunipola vs Lorenzo Cittadini: Joe Marler’s withdrawal to witness the birth of his first child means Lancaster can call upon a British and Irish Lion at loosehead – testament to the strength in depth across his squad these days. In fact, Vunipola has been extremely unlucky not to have earned a start anyway. Alongside those of Dave Attwood and Tom Youngs, his cameos were crucial to victories over Ireland and Wales. He will be under the microscope at scrum-time though, and – in the absence of injured Martin Castrogiovanni – Treviso’s Lorenzo Cittadini lies in wait.
Luke McLean vs Mike Brown: Despite Italy’s run of losses, the most recent due to a second-half capitulation in Dublin, McLean has offered ambition and verve from full back all tournament. Having scored from a perfectly-weighted Luiciano Orquera cross-kick in last year’s 18-11 defeat at Twickenham, he also has happy memories of facing the English. He must be mindful when kicking for position though – go too long or too far infield and Brown will happily charge back. The Harlequin is thriving in fractured play and a hard track in Rome will suit him down to the ground.
Quotes from the camps
Stuart Lancaster (England Head Coach): “Winning is the priority. We went to Rome two years ago and it was very difficult. 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.”
Jacques Brunel (Italy Head Coach): “In Dublin [last week], our problem was keeping possession. We had an incredible game in defence, with unprecedented statistics. Now we must strike a balance.
“England and Ireland are two totally different teams. England are more physical. The next day, you know about playing them.”
Did you know?
- Italy skipper Sergio Parisse was born in Argentina and lived in La Plata until moving to Italy and joining Treviso in 2003
- This is the 19th Anglo-Italian clash and England have won all of them
- England have made 29 clean breaks this tournament, more than double the number Italy have achieved (14)
- The year of England's biggest victory in Rome (2000, by 47 points), was the same year that Brian O'Driscoll scored a hat-trick to beat for Ireland to beat France in Paris
- Mako Vunipola has been on the field for 79 minutes over the course of this tournament, making 17 carries and 10 tackles