Saints star Mitchell on the bench for England against Italy as Ludlam starts again

Alex MitchellAlex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
Saints scrum-half Alex Mitchell is on the bench for England's Guinness Six Nations clash with Italy at Twickenham.

Mitchell is set to win his second cap for his country, having been named in the 23, with Jack van Poortvliet handed the No.9 shirt.

Lewis Ludlam will also be involved as he starts for the second time in as many Six Nations matches this month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saints skipper Ludlam, who impressed in England’s 23-29 defeat to Scotland last weekend, will make his 16th England appearance as he starts against the Azzurri.

David Ribbans, Fin Smith and Tommy Freeman were all retained by England earlier this week but that Saints trio will play no part this weekend.

England head coach Steve Borthwick said: “We welcome an exciting and in form Italy team to Twickenham on Sunday.

"We recognise and respect the very real threat they pose in this Six Nations Championship and we are preparing accordingly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Notwithstanding the disappointment of last weekend’s Calcutta Cup result, we know that in a very short space of time positive steps have been taken towards the manner and style in which we want to play our rugby.

“We are at the start of what is a completely new cycle of England Rugby.

"The implementation of new systems does take time and the squad is showing themselves to be hungry to deliver the sort of performance that we know they are capable of.

“From the squad, I have selected a team for Sunday’s fixture that I believe is best placed to meet the specific challenges that Italy will bring.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It is a selection of players whose form, individual strengths and combined qualities suit the way we want to play against Italy, in what we anticipate will be another hard-fought and entertaining spectacle.”

England team to face Italy: Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps); Max Malins (Saracens, 15 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 52 caps), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 8 caps), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, 1 cap); Owen Farrell (Saracens, 102 caps) (c), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps); Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 44 caps) (vc), Jamie George (Saracens, 73 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 57 caps); Maro Itoje (Saracens, 63 caps), Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps); Lewis Ludlam (Saints, 15 caps), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 6 caps), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 10 caps)

Replacements: Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 75 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 96 caps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 9 caps), Ben Earl (Saracens, 14 caps), Alex Mitchell (Saints, 1 cap), Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 18 caps), Henry Arundell (London Irish, 3 caps)