Steve Borthwick has explained his England team to face Italy on Saturday as they look to make a strong start to the Six Nations.
Without Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith, the experienced George Ford has stepped up and Borthwick is excited after a strong training camp in Spain.
“After an excellent week’s preparation in Girona, we look forward to the challenge of playing Italy in Rome. The Azzurri are a dangerous team, with some talented ball carriers and players who like to find space,” Borthwick said.
“We’ll need to make good decisions, keep our discipline, and maintain a level of intensity to our performance from the first whistle to the last.”
He hands first caps to Fraser Dingwall and Ethan Roots, with three more potential debutants on the bench in Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.
“Winning a first cap for your country is always a very special occasion,” Borthwick added. “We’re delighted for the debutants who have all worked incredibly hard to get themselves selected in the 23 to face Italy. I know Saturday will be a very proud moment for the players and their families.
“My message to them this week has been to be themselves, to grasp their opportunity, and to play with the strengths and skills that deservedly got them selected to a strong Six Nations squad.”