Six Nations: England coach Stuart Lancaster to name team to face Italy
England coach Stuart Lancaster will name his team later today for the crunch clash with Italy in Rome.
Last Updated: 13/03/14 9:45am
Lancaster has recalled British and Irish Lions centre Manu Tuilagi, who will almost certainly start on the bench, after his recovery from a chest muscle injury he suffered playing for Leicester in September.
Head coach dropped a heavy hint that his starting XV will be unchanged against the Azzurri with Tuilagi being asked to cover for the midfield and wing positions at Stadio Olimpico.
England are hoping for a thumping win over the hosts in the Italian capital and Ireland losing by a big score in Paris in the late kick-off to snatch the title on points difference.
Lancaster said: "Manu trained well with us last week and today and is up to speed with the way we want to play. Alex Goode has done well for us off the bench and is naturally disappointed but we believe Manu, with the power and physicality he can bring, is the right choice to be included in the 23 for this game.
"Every member of the squad has contributed to the cause over the last seven weeks and those not involved this weekend deserve massive credit for the way they have trained and pushed hard for places.
"There will be opportunities down the line, not least on the tour to New Zealand, and they can further stake their claims for that trip with strong performances for their clubs."
Wasps prop Matt Mullan and Bath back Kyle Eastmond will travel with the squad as 24th and 25th men but Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Freddie Burns, Goode, Matt Kvesic, Ed Slater, Anthony Watson, Marland Yarde and Ben Youngs have all returned to their clubs.
England - Forwards: David Attwood (Bath), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester). Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)
Watch Sky Sports News at 09.30 to hear the England team announcement