Six Nations: Hill to make England debut vs. Italy

Rugby

Exeter’s Jonny Hill will make his England debut against Italy on Saturday after coach Eddie Jones named him as lock partner to Maro Itoje for the game in Rome where the Six Nations title is at stake.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs will win his 100th cap, inside captain and flyhalf Owen Farrell. In the absence of the injured Manu Tuilagi, Jones has opted for the creative centre pairing of Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph, with George Furbank at fullback.

After much speculation about his back-row options, Jones has returned to the trio who performed so well in the World Cup, with Sam Underhill and Tom Curry flanking Billy Vunipola, making his first appearance since the final defeat by South Africa a year ago this week. Hooker Jamie George will win his 50th cap.

There are three uncapped players on the bench — hooker Tom Dunn, centre Ollie Lawrence and winger Ollie Thorley — while Dan Robson is the backup scrum-half.

England will hope to beat Italy with a bonus point and then rack up enough points to take the title on points difference, assuming Ireland do not buck the odds by beating France in Paris with a bonus point in the final game of the championship on Saturday.

England squad

Starting XI

George Furbank, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola

Replacements

Tom Dunn, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Ollie Lawrence, Ollie Thorley

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