Eight Saracens in England squad to face Italy

England captain Owen Farrell during a training session

England captain Owen Farrell during a training session at The Lensbury Hotel - Credit: PA

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play Italy in the Guinness Six Nations this weekend and the 23-strong party includes eight Saracens.

The defending champions will host Italy at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 13 February (2.15pm) after losing 11-6 to Scotland in their opening game of the tournament.

And Saracens' Mako Vunipola is back from injury at loose-head prop, with Kyle Sinckler (tight-head prop) and Luke Cowan-Dickie (hooker) also return to the starting line-up in the front row. 

Jonny Hill and Sarries Maro Itoje stay as locks, while Courtney Lawes starts at blind-side flanker, with Tom Curry continuing at open-side flanker and Saracens' Billy Vunipola at number eight.

England and Saracens skipper Owen Farrell moves to inside centre, Henry Slade is at outside centre and George Ford starts at fly half. 

Jonny May is at left wing and Anthony Watson right wing, with Saracens' Elliot Daly will be at full back and Ben Youngs remains at scrum half.

Saracens hooker Jamie George in named as a finisher alongside clubmates Ben Earl and Max Malins - who are both on loan at Bristol Bears at present - and Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Dan Robson, Will Stuart and Jack Willis.

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Jones said: “As always, we’ve picked what we think is our strongest 23 to try and win the game.

“We’re pleased to have Mako and Kyle back into the team and we’ve made some changes to our starting XV, but our finishers are just as important to our game plan.  We look at the whole 80 minutes.

“We’ve trained very well this week, I’ve been very pleased with the players’ attitudes and work-rate.

“We’re hoping to put on a good performance on Saturday and kick on with our Guinness Six Nations campaign.”

England v Italy is live on ITV 1 and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

England XV Starters
15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 48 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 35 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 89 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 62 caps)
10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 73 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 105 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 63 caps)
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 27 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 40 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 44 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 86 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 29 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 57 caps)
16. Jamie George (Saracens, 55 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 24 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 9 caps)
21. Jack Willis (Wasps, 2 caps)
22. Dan Robson (Wasps, 8 caps)
23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 4 caps)