England starts 6 Nations defense by crushing Italy 46-15

Saul Bowman
February 5, 2018

Ben Te'o has been preferred to Jonathan Joseph in England's midfield for their opening Six Nations clash against Italy in Rome.

Ireland have only beaten Les Bleus in the Six Nations twice in Paris (in 2000 and 2014) and lost two of their three away games in the tournament previous year.

Jones, however, would tell players to work on two or three things - and if you can do that you will be in my side.

"We know we need to get our set-piece right, be defensively strong, and play with aggression and plenty of energy".

After extensive rehabilitation he has clearly done enough in the England camp to impress Jones, and will partner Owen Farrell on Sunday, winning his ninth England cap but making only his second start. "A lot of the boys here were saying as well how quick he is, but he's got a big backside so that's where the power comes from".

What time is Italy v England on TV? "It's simple, the [England] coaches don't want us to change, the reason you're picked is for what you've done with your club".

"We want to be brutal and absolutely ruthless". But he says methods employed Jones, who has been keeping a keen eye on the forward's diet of late, have helped to create an environment that everyone wants to be a part of.

"The Six Nations is physical, a massive physical contest", explained Jones.

The 58-year-old laid down the challenge when he took over and he believes the time has come for players such as Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell to seal their place in the game. Before, sometimes, when you got invited to England, you'd be like "Oh no, this is going to be hell".

"This is worldwide rugby and these games are always intense encounters and we're expecting that intensity against Italy".

New Zealand-born lock Dean Budd is in a pack featuring flankers Sebastian Negri, born in Zimbabwe, and Renato Giammarioli as well as prop Simone Ferrari.

"Maybe on Sunday after the match it will be a hard evening, but we prepare to win matches and the wonderful thing about sport is that anything can happen", said O'Shea.

Mattia Bellini went over for an unconverted try to pull Italy within 12 points with 20 minutes remaining, yet it only sparked a final-quarter onslaught from England.

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