Six Nations: George Ford starts for England vs Italy in Rome as Fraser Dingwall, Ethan Roots in for debuts | Rugby Union News

Six Nations: George Ford starts for England vs Italy in Rome as Fraser Dingwall, Ethan Roots in for debuts | Rugby Union News
Six Nations: George Ford starts for England vs Italy in Rome as Fraser Dingwall, Ethan Roots in for debuts | Rugby Union News
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George Ford will start for England at fly-half vs Italy in the Six Nations after Marcus Smith’s injury, with center Fraser Dingwall and flanker Ethan Roots in for their Test debuts in Rome.

Smith injured his calf at England’s training camp in Girona last week, ruling him out to leave Ford and the uncapped Fin Smith as Steve Borthwick’s only fly-half options, with previous skipper Owen Farrell having made himself unavailable.

Northampton center Dingwall – who is also qualified for Scotland – starts alongside the recalled Henry Slade in midfield, while Exeter’s New Zealand-born Roots is named alongside Sam Underhill and Ben Earl in the back-row.

England begin their 2024 Six Nations campaign by facing Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday (2.15pm kick-off).

Images:
Northampton Saints center Fraser Dingwall has been named to start for his Test debut

England’s bench contains three uncapped players in Smith, Harlequins back-row Chandler Cunningham-South, and Exeter’s Cardiff-born-and-raised wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

Scrum-half Alex Mitchell, who was a late doubt for the squad due to an infected cut, has recovered to start, with Danny Care named among the replacements.

Joe Marler has shaken off an arm injury to start at loosehead prop, with vice-captain Ellis Genge on the bench, while Jamie George skippers the side from hooker and Will Stuart starts at tighthead.

Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum combine to form the second-row, while Freddie Steward (full-back), Tommy Freeman (right wing) and Elliot Daly (left wing) make up the back-three.

Images:
Exeter back-row Ethan Roots starts for his England debut, having played once for the Maori All Blacks in 2020

Hooker Theo Dan, tighthead Dan Cole and lock Alex Coles completed the squad as the other replacements.

“Winning a first cap for your country is always a very special occasion. We’re delighted for the debutants who have all worked incredibly hard to get themselves selected in the 23 to face Italy,” Borthwick said of the five uncapped players.

“I know Saturday will be a very proud moment for the players and their families.

“My message to them this week has been to be themselves, to grasp their opportunity, and to play with the strengths and skills that deservedly got them selected to a strong Six Nations squad.

Images:
Exeter wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who was born and grew up in Cardiff, could earn his first England cap off the bench

“The Azzurri are a dangerous team, with some talented ball carriers and players who like to find space.

“We’ll need to make good decisions, keep our discipline, and maintain a level of intensity to our performance from the first whistle to the last.”

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Alex Mitchell; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George (c), 3 Will Stuart, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Ollie Chessum, 6 Ethan Roots, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Ben Earl

Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Danny Care, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

Italy: 15 Tommaso Allan, 14 Ange Capuozzo, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Alessandro Garbisi; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 5 Federico Ruzza, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 8 Lorenzo Cannone.

Replacements: 16 Giacomo Nicotera, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosue Zilocchi, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Edoardo Iachizzi, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Stephen Varney, 23 Lorenzo Pani.

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Tags: Nations George Ford starts England Italy Rome Fraser Dingwall Ethan Roots debuts Rugby Union News

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