Six Nations 2023: Ben Youngs, Ben Curry and Anthony Watson out of 29-man England squad to face Italy
Ben Youngs, England's most-capped men's player, left out of Steve Borthwick's squad to take on Italy in Six Nations on Sunday at Twickenham, with kick-off at 3pm; Anthony Watson and Ben Curry are also out
Last Updated: 08/02/23 10:31pm
Ben Youngs, Ben Curry and Anthony Watson are the big names to miss out as Steve Borthwick announced a 29-player squad for England's Six Nations clash against Italy.
All three featured in England's 29-23 loss to Scotland on Saturday and the omission of Youngs, England's most capped men's player, is the second big call from Borthwick in a matter of weeks after leaving out Manu Tuilagi against the Scots.
Youngs' omission means scrum-half Alex Mitchell is likely to start on the bench this weekend.
Curry is the only member of the starting XV against Scotland to be omitted, and his place is taken by Jack Willis, pointing to a recall for the Toulouse openside.
- Borthwick: England 'weren't good at anything' when I took charge
- Greenwood: Smith-Farrell combo not England's biggest worry | 'Tough times'
- Middleton to step down as Red Roses coach after Women's Six Nations
Also missing is Anthony Watson, who played 15 minutes as a replacement against Scotland, with Henry Arundell taking his place as the London Irish try-scoring sensation prepares to make his comeback after missing the autumn because of an ankle issue.
Defence coach Kevin Sinfield said the personnel had been chosen to reflect the particular demands of facing Italy as England look to "get the job done" on Sunday.
"I think we have tried to pick a squad that reflects how we want to play this week and our view internally is that just because we pick a 15, or a 23, it is not them and us and we cast aside players," Sinfield told Sky Sports.
"We think everyone has been a huge part of where we are at so far but we are trying to be specific in how we select for each particular opposition.
"So, I am disappointed for the lads who have gone home, they have been outstanding again this week in training, but like I said we are picking a squad that we think will get the job done at the weekend."
Earlier this week, it was announced that Henry Slade and Arundell had returned to England's squad following spells out injured, but Tom Curry remains out and Courtney Lawes continues to rehab.
Exeter Chiefs centre Slade had been out with a hip injury, while Arundell had been absent after undergoing surgery for a foot injury.
The latest omissions come after wing Cadan Murley (Harlequins) and centre Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers) were also released from the squad.
England face Italy in the second round of the Six Nations on Sunday at Twickenham, after the Azzurri pushed defending champions France hard in the opening weekend before falling to a 29-24 defeat.
Farrell: We had chances to win Scotland clash | Italy are a tough team to beat
Following a disappointing loss to Scotland, England captain Owen Farrell admitted that his side did not take their chances and have been working on improvements ahead of the next round of the Six Nations.
"There is a lot of stuff that we feel we could have done better and a lot of stuff we feel we did quite well as well so the reviews are over and done with by now," he told Sky Sports.
"We are looking forward to Italy now and we are pleased in some aspects but disappointed in the result.
"Especially at the start of the game I thought we were in the right parts of the field and a couple of thunderbolts from Scotland got them ahead and the team dug in to get back into a good position where we could have, and maybe should have, won the game.
"Obviously full credit to Scotland for sticking in it and getting the result in the end.
England face Italy next and after the Azzurri put in a strong performance against a tough France side last time out, Farrell knows England will have to work hard to pick up the win.
"They beat Wales and it was a big game against Australia in the Autumn too," he added.
"I said before the tournament even started that this is probably the most tightly contested Six Nations that I can ever think of coming into it so it feels like anybody can beat anybody and we are looking forward to playing Italy at the weekend.
"They have changed their style of play over the last year or so, they play pretty tight and hidden and right off the line, and all peeling off each other's shoulders so it is hard to defend against as you can see from the trouble they have been causing a lot of teams.
"We have got to concentrate on ourselves and we have got to make sure we are in the best place we can possibly be come Sunday."
England's 29-player Six Nations Squad for Italy match
Forwards: Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 96 caps), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 10 caps), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, 3 caps), Ben Earl (Saracens, 14 caps), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 44 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 73 caps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 9 caps), Maro Itoje (Saracens, 63 caps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 15 caps), David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 3 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 57 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 75 caps), Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 6 caps)
Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish, 3 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 102 caps), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 3 caps), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, 1 cap), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 8 caps), Max Malins (Saracens, 15 caps), Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 14 caps), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 1 cap), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 52 caps), Fin Smith (Northampton Saints, uncapped), Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 18 caps), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps)