Wednesday 29 March 2017

Cole in for England

Leicester tight-head prop Dan Cole will make his full England debut in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy in Rome.

The 22-year-old has been promoted into the starting XV to replace Bath's David Wilson, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury since last weekend's 30-17 victory over Wales.

Cole made his Test debut off the bench at Twickenham after forcing his way into the senior England squad with a series of destructive performances in the Leicester front row.

In the only other change to the England side that took the field against Wales, Riki Flutey has been restored at inside centre after recovering from a dead leg.

The Brive centre had originally been named in the team last week but he was forced to withdraw two days before the game after being injured in training.

England manager Martin Johnson has delayed the announcement of his replacement bench as he waits on a number of injury issues. England captain Steve Borthwick has missed training for the last two days and has been isolated from the rest of the squad after being laid low with an illness.

Wilson and Lewis Moody were both in non-contact jerseys at training today while Simon Shaw also sat out the session. Johnson has kept Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw, Northampton lock Courtney Lawes and Worcester prop Matt Mullan with the squad.

England team to play Italy in the RBS 6 Nations championship at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome on Sunday, February 14; kick-off 2.30pm:

D Armitage (London Irish); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tait (Sale Sharks), R Flutey (Brive), U Monye (Harlequins); J Wilkinson (Toulon), D Care (Harlequins); T Payne (Wasps), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), J Haskell (Stade Francais), L Moody (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: TBC.

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