Joe Launchbury starts for England against Italy
Date: 2 Feb 2018
Joe Launchbury is part of Eddie Jones's starting line-up for Sunday's Six Nations opener against Italy.
Wasps' skipper, who wins his 48th cap against the Azurri at the Stadio Olimpico, partners Saracens' Maro Itoje in the second row.
Dylan Hartley captains an experienced side with 689 caps across the starting 15.
Worcester's Ben Te’o partner sOwen Farrell (Saracens) in the centres after nearly a year’s absence from the England side.
Exeter's Sam Simmonds starts at number eight while his club mate Alec Hepburn could make his England debut having been named as a replacement.
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), who starts his 56th test match, overtakes Matt Dawson’s record of most starts for an England No.9, while Harlequins' Danny Care will equal Dawson's caps record for a scrum half (77) when he arrives from the bench.
Head coach Eddie Jones said: “I have selected the strongest available side to play Italy this weekend and the players are excited to play in Rome.
“Our preparation over the last two weeks has been excellent and the players feel refreshed. We want to start the tournament well and are ready to go hunting against Italy.
“We know we need to get our set piece right, be defensively strong and play with aggression and plenty of energy.”
The match, which kicks ks off at 3pm, will be shown in the Mill and the Clubhouse following the final whistle of the Anglo-Welsh Cup clash between Wasps and Leicester Tigers for which tickets are available at www.wasps.co.uk or by phone on 02476 786411.
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins 64 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 28 caps)
13 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 8 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens 53 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers 29 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 40 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers 73 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 44 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints 89 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 77 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 47 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens 14 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 61 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 59 caps)
8 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs 3 caps)
16 Jamie George (Saracens 20 caps)
17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs uncapped)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs 5 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens 21 caps)
20 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 3 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins 76 caps)
22 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 35 caps)
23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs 23 caps)