HomeCricketItaly v England result: England show they have a gameplan not solely...

Italy v England result: England show they have a gameplan not solely based on kicking


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Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of England’s opening Six Nations match, against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

After Ireland’s commanding victory over 14-player France in Marseille last night, we kick off with some breaking news from one of our men in Rome, Senior Rugby Writer Charlie Morgan, regarding England’s squad:

“Ellis Genge has been ruled out of today’s game against Italy in a late blow for England. The Bristol Bears loosehead, who appeared to have recovered from his hamstring trouble to take a place on the bench, has suffered a foot injury. Beno Obano will begin among the replacements in his place and we should have further details on the severity of Genge’s plight soon enough.”

More injury woes for Genge, who was a doubt anyway owing to a hamstring strain suffered on club duty. Genge’s replacement Obano will be earning just his fourth cap from the bench at the Stadio Olimpico, and joins Theo Dan and Dan Cole as England’s front-row replacements.

A reminder, too, that there are five uncapped players set to make England debuts today (and they all happen to be dual-qualified): Ethan Roots at blindside and Fraser Dingwall at inside centre start; Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will all earn inaugural caps should they emerge off the bench.

Seventeen degrees and sunny in Rome, too, the perfect conditions for some attacking rugby, you would think. While England have promised a more enterprising approach with the World Cup quick fix now firmly behind them, do not expect any Harlem Globetrotters stuff in Rome. The squad have been together for a little over a week and, with sundry backline injuries, will surely just be looking for a professional victory against an unknown Italian quantity under new head coach, Gonzalo Quesada.

The confirmed team line-ups – with that Genge-Obano switch – will be next!

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