England’s Itoje in Six Nations rugby start

Lock Maro Itoje will make his first England start on Saturday after being named in the side to play Ireland in the Six Nations at Twickenham.

Itoje, 21, impressing off the bench on his debut in the victory in Rome two weeks ago, replaces Courtney Lawes.

Lawes was named among the replacements on Thursday having been recalled to the squad on Wednesday when Joe Launchbury was ruled out with a hamstring strain.

Uncapped centre Elliot Daly was also among the replacements.

The only other change to the starting team is the return of prop Joe Marler for Mako Vunipola who drops to the bench.

“Joe Marler made a big impact off the bench in Rome and will start at loose-head with Mako Vunipola finishing the game,” coach Eddie Jones said in a statement.

“Joe Launchbury is unlucky to miss out through injury; Maro Itoje is selected as a result and we’re pleased for him.

“Elliot Daly has worked hard this week and is now ready for a place in the 23. He can provide cover in several positions in the backline,” added Jones.

“Playing our first game at Twickenham after two away fixtures will be huge for us. We’re determined to put in a strong performance against a clever Irish side who are the benchmark of European rugby.”

England lost to Ireland in Dublin last season but have won five of their past six meetings including World Cup warm-ups.

Jones’ side top the Six Nations after two wins while Ireland, seeking a third successive title, have one point from their opening two games.


Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (capt), Joe Marler.

Res: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Paul Hill, Courtney Lawes, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Alex Goode.

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