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Australia, New Zealand to contest hosting rights for Women’s Rugby World Cup

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Australia, New Zealand to contest hosting rights for Women’s Rugby World Cup

rugby world cup 2017 women

World Rugby has confirmed that Australia and New Zealand will contest hosting rights for the 2021 edition of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The two countries have been selected after their respective unions submitted their bid responses to the international federation by a deadline of August 10. In June, World Rugby detailed an initial list of nations that had showed interest in the hosting rights which also included England, France, Portugal and Wales. The two bids will now undergo a detailed evaluation before the World Rugby Council announces the host during its interim meeting in Dublin, Ireland on November 14.

In submitting their bids, Australia and New Zealand were required to outline their vision for hosting the World Cup and ensure the delivery of an event that will further promote the growth of the women’s game.

Bids were required to reflect World Rugby’s hosting objectives, which include a vision for the tournament and how it can build on the success of the 2017 event in Ireland, a strong financial model and commercial capability, venues and infrastructure that meets requirements, full venues and a strong fan base, consideration of player welfare, a clear Impact Beyond Legacy programme, and a strong marketing and communications policy to promote fan awareness and ticket sales.

The 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup will be an extended version of the tournament, running for 35 days instead of 23. The tournament will feature a quarter-final stage, while squad sizes will also increase from 28 players to 30.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It is particularly exciting that both bids have strong government financial backing, which underscores the importance and attractiveness of Women’s Rugby World Cup as a sporting, societal, economic and legacy driver. This excellent support reflects the significant global excitement and momentum behind women’s rugby and women in rugby.

“Ireland 2017 was a magnificent tournament by any Rugby World Cup standards and I am sure that both unions will be determined to raise the bar again as we look forward to a tournament that features an exciting new format.”

New Zealand won last year’s Women’s World Cup in Ireland, defeating England in the final. Neither Australia nor New Zealand have hosted the tournament before, although the latter nation has won five of the last six events.

The 2018 State of Origin Series

The 2018 State of Origin Series

Welcome to The Roar‘s coverage of the 2018 State of Origin series, including news, previews, video, highlights and team announcements. We’ll be updating this page daily as the latest news breaks.

Click here Watch Now Live Coverage


In 2018, one game will be played in Melbourne, followed by games in Sydney and Brisbane.

New South Wales will head into the series with a new coach as Brad Fittler takes the reigns from Laurie Daley. Kevin Walters will again coach the Maroons after a successful 2017 series.

The Maroons have won 11 of the last 12 series, but will head into 2018 without stalwarts of that success Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

The fixtures for the 2018 State of Origin series were announced in November.

Date Time (AEDT) Home Away Venue
Game 1 Wed Jun 6 8:00 PM Queensland Maroons New South Wales Blues Melbourne Cricket Ground
Game 2 Sun Jun 24 8:00 PM New South Wales Blues Queensland Maroons ANZ Stadium, Homebush
Game 3 Wed Jul 11 8:00 PM Queensland Maroons New South Wales Blues Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

*Important note – most Origin games commence later than this time. The exact kick-off, after the Australian national anthem is performed, and TV specials are completed, is closer to 8:15pm.

2017 State of Origin series

In 2017, Queensland won the series making it 11 series wins in the last 12 years after taking a dominant 22-6 victory over NSW at Suncorp Stadium, with Valentine Holmes scoring three tries.

Holmes scored two tries in the first half of Game 3 to give Queensland a 12-0 advantage at half time. A Josh Dugan try brought it back to 12-6, but a third from Holmes and one from Jarrod Wallace saw Queensland run away with a 22-6 series-deciding victory.

Queensland’s Dane Gagai was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series, becoming just the first winger in the history of Origin to take home the award.

Earlier in the series, the Blues cruised to a 28-4 Game 1 win in Brisbane before the Maroons hit back with a nailbiting 18-16 win in Game 2 in Sydney to set up the decider, courtesy of a last-gasp Johnathan Thurston conversion after Dane Gagai scored two tries in the second half.

History and format

Considered by many as the pinnacle of rugby league, State Of Origin is one of Australia’s premier sporting events, played in front of sold-out stadiums. The series itself is contested between New South Wales and Queensland, who have formed an epic rivalry that has resulted in some of the toughest and most skilful games ever.

Since its inception in 1980, the results between NSW and QLD had been extraordinarily even, contributing further to the competition’s success, until a 12-year streak in which Queensland have won 11 series. Overall the Maroons have won 24 series compared to the Blues’ 13.

In recent years, State of Origin has been played on Wednesday nights, spaced three weeks apart. In 2018 though, the second game of the series will be played as a stand alone game on Sunday night in Sydney. The first and third games will remain on Wednesday nights.

Year-by-year Origin history

2017 series

2017 Game 1: New South Wales made a positive start to the series, clinching a 28-4 victory away from home.

2017 Game 2: The Maroons returned the favour during Game 2 though, coming from behind in the second half to win 18-16.

2017 Game 3: The Blues never recovered as they travelled north for Game 3, looking like a shell of the team they were in the first game of the series, eventually going down 22-6 to lose another series.

2016 series

2016 Game 1: The first game of the series saw Queensland take a low-scoring 6-4 victory away from home.

2016 Game 2: Queensland wrapped up the series in straight sets. It was another tight affair, but more open with more points as the Maroons clinnched a 26-16 victory.

2016 Game 3: New South Wales picked up a consolation victory in Game 3, taking an 18-14 victory with a miracle try on the buzzer.

2015 series – how it happened

2015 Game 1: Queensland won the first match of the State of Origin series 11-10, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

2015 Game 2: A record 91,514 fans packed the MCG in Melbourne. NSW won the match 26-18 thanks to a heroic performance from Michael Jennings, forcing a decider which was played in Brisbane.

2015 Game 3: 52,500 people were in Suncorp Stadium to witness a complete domination from the Maroons, who won 52-6. The 46-point win was the biggest winning margin in Queensland Origin history.

2014 series – how it happened

Game 1 of the 2014 series on May 28 saw the two teams take to Suncorp Stadium. The build-up was as tense, and when the teams took the park the action was ferocious.

Despite an early Darius Boyd try, New South Wales enjoyed the ascendency in the first half, with tries to Brett Morris and Jarryd Hayne seeing them take a 10-4 lead.

As the second half began, a penalty goal took the Blues to a 12-4 lead, but Darius Boyd’s second try brought the game back to life. The Blues however didn’t relent, and managed to hold off at fast-finishing Queensland to win 12-8.

Game 2 was competitive, controversial, and full of niggle, which made for a low-scoring contest. But NSW’s 6-4 win resulted in their first series victory over Queensland since 2005.

Queensland took two penalty goals either side of halftime through Johnathan Thurston. But Trent Hodkinson managed to convert pressure into points for the Blues, when after five consecutive sets attacking the Queensland line he slipped through the Maroons’ defence for the only try of the match.

There was a controversial moment at the end of the match, with the ball brushing Aaron Woods before going dead on the full, but the Blues were awarded a penalty, and held on for the win and the series victory.

Game 3 was a ‘dead rubber’ by name, but was still played with passion, pride and intensity. It showed the Queensland team of old, as the Maroons piled on five tries to thrash the Blues 32-8.

Although they only took a 6-2 lead into halftime, the win was built on the back of an opening half where NSW were forced to get through a mountain of defensive work. As a result, the Maroons managed four tries in a clinic of attacking play in the second half.

Tries to Aiden Guerra, Billy Slater, Darius Boyd and Cooper Cronk saw the Maroons home in a thrashing, but it didn’t stop Blues skipper Paul Gallen from holding aloft the shield after the match in front of 50,000 Queenslanders.

Munster vs Racing 92 and Leinster vs Scarlets Champions Cup semi-final fixtures confirmed

Munster vs Racing 92 and Leinster vs Scarlets Champions Cup semi-final fixtures confirmed

Details of Munster’s and Leinster’s Champions Cup semi-final fixtures have been confirmed by tournament organisers this afternoon, prompting the usual rush to book planes, trains, automobiles and hotel rooms by supporters from both provinces.

Munster will, as had been expected, play on Sunday, April 22, at Bordeaux’s Stade Chaban-Delmas. Kick-off has been pencilled in for 4.15pm French time and the game will be shown in Ireland on BT Sports for those left behind.

Leinster face Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin the day before. Kick-off there is set for 3.30pm.

Dawson travel and Lee travel will both have day trips and overnight packages to Bordeaux available from Cork. Both companies will have packages available either before close of business today or by Wednesday lunchtime.

Demand is already high. Close to 400 people have already registered interest in packages on Facebook with Dawson Travel alone, many for parties of two or three people at a pop.

Ryanair has added two extra flights to Bordeaux for Munster’s match.

An extra Cork to Bordeaux flight will leave at 13.40 on April 20, with an added Bordeaux to Cork flight departing at 10.05am (local time) on April 23.

Champions Cup semi-finals (Kick-offs local time):

Saturday, 21 April

Leinster Rugby v Scarlets

Aviva Stadium (Dublin) 3.30pm

Sky Sports / beIN SPORTS

Sunday, 22 April

Racing 92 v Munster Rugby

Stade Chaban-Delmas (Bordeaux) 16.15

FR2 / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Munster vs Toulon

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Munster vs Toulon

Match preview: Munster v Toulon

Double Heineken Cup Champions Munster will be looking to get their 2010/11 campaign back on track after defeat to London Irish last weekend.

The Irish province have made it through to the knock-out stages every year since 1997 and will need a victory at Thomond Park if they wish to progress in one of the competition’s toughest groups.Toulon made their Heineken Cup debut last weekend and last season’s Amlin Challenge Cup finalists got off to a winning start beating Celtic league champions the Ospreys.

Philippe Saint-Andre’s men struggled at the start of the season but have found some form and it sets up an intriguing encounter on Saturday.

Saracens vs Leinster

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Saracens vs Leinster

Match preview: Saracens v Leinster

Saracens have switched this Pool 2 fixture to the revamped Wembley Stadium and are expecting a bumper crowd in London.

Saracens have become a dominate force in English game over the last two seasons but were well beaten by Clermont Auvergne last weekend will be desperate for victory at the home of football.Leinster impressed last week beating French high flyers Racing-Metro 38-22 in Dublin.

The Irish side collected the a try-scoring bonus point as they signalled their Heineken Cup intentions.

Joe Scmidt’s men haven’t had the best of starts domestically, but their performance against Heineken debutants Racing-Metro has sent a warning shot across Pool 2.

How to Watch Six Nations 2019 Online From Anywhere – England vs Ireland Live Stream

How to Watch Six Nations 2019 Online From Anywhere – England vs Ireland Live Stream

It is time for the Six Nations Championship, and rugby fans all around the globe are looking forward to feasting their eyes on one of Rugby’s most exciting competitions.

Sadly, many rugby fans living around the world cannot easily watch the Six Nations Championship. Rugby is not particularly popular in many countries, which means that TV stations don’t purchase the rights to the tournament. The good news is that with a Virtual Private Network for Sports (VPN for Sports), anybody can stream Six Nations online from anywhere! A VPN lets you do this by allowing you to pretend to be in a different country.

How to Live Stream Six Nations Rugby on iPlayer or ITV Hub with a VPN

Unblocking the Six Nations is extremely easy. Just follow these simple steps to pretend to be in the UK:

  1. Choose a VPN service. To stream Six Nations rugby, we recommend ExpressVPN, because it has fast servers in the UK that will let you watch the Rugby in HD.
  2. If you prefer having a few more options check out our 5 Best VPNs for Sports list.
  3. Click through to your chosen VPN’s website and subscribe.
  4. Install the VPN software on your PC, laptop, Mac, Android or iOS device. ExpressVPN allows you to install the VPN software on three devices to watch Six nations on any of them.
  5. Connect to a server in the UK.
  6. Head over to either the BBC or ITV online player and watch the rugby live for free!

Round 5 Super Saturday Six Nations

It is time for the final weekend of the Six Nations Cup! Although Ireland already won overall with a match to spare, Super Saturday is going to be a tense thriller. That is because the England team has the chance to stop Ireland winning every match to get the grand slam.

Of course, considering the form they are in, it seems likely that Ireland will manage to win their final match. Especially considering that the UK already lost to France and Scotland. However, England does have the home advantage: so you never know!

You can use a VPN to watch the action for free on ITV Hub at 14:45 GMT.

How to watch the Six Nations in USA

Watching the Six Nations in the USA is as simple as watching it anywhere else! By simply following the steps in the guide above and connecting to a UK server, you are able to hide your true location and pretend to be in the UK. This means that you will have a valid UK IP in order to access both ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer – both of which show Rugby Six Nations matches – from across the pond!

If you’re looking to watch the 6 Nations from Australia take a look at our 5 top VPNs for Australia article.

Where Can I Watch 6 Nations Rugby Online?

The good news for Rugby fans is that you will be able to watch all of the Rugby for free: no matter where you are. This is because all the matches are available on Freeview terrestrial British TV channels.

All 15 of the matches are being shown on either the UK’s BBC or ITV channels. This means that you will be able to watch all of the Rugby on BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub online. Easy peasy!

However, as you probably know, both those British online streaming players are geo-restricted for UK residents only. This means you will need a VPN to tune in and watch the Six Nations live.

getrugbystream.com does not condone copyright infringement. While we are aware that VPNs can be used to spoof your location to another country, and thus overcome geo-restrictions, their primary purpose is to provide you with online security and privacy. First and foremost, this is why we recommend using a VPN.

Other Places to Watch The Six Nations

Just in case you prefer to watch a Six Nations Rugby with a different nation’s commentary here are some other TV stations that will be showing Six Nations live. You can use a VPN to watch any of these options. Simply connect to a VPN server in the country of your choice.

  • S4C (Wales)
  • FR2 (France)
  • TV3 (Ireland)
  • DMAX (Italy)
  • NBC (USA)
  • BBC (UK)
  • ITV (UK)

If you want to watch the rugby on NBC from outside of the US, we strongly recommend watching it on the online streaming service Sling TV. Sling TV can be purchased on a month by month basis without a contract. It also provides a 7-day free trial: so you can watch the first weekend of rugby for free.

Sling TV is only available in the US, you will need to connect to a VPN server inside the US to watch this pay-per-view option. Overall, we recommend the UK options as they are free.

getrugbystream.com does not condone copyright infringement. While we are aware that VPNs can be used to spoof your location to another country, and thus overcome geo-restrictions, their primary purpose is to provide you with online security and privacy. First and foremost, this is why we recommend using a VPN.

Who Competes in the Six Nations Championship?

The Five Nations Championship was actually the successor to the Home Nations Championship, which ran from 1883 to 1939. At that time the name was changed to the Five Nations because of the introduction of France into the competition. Since then, Italy has also been added to the competition (in the year 2000) bringing the teams in the competition to a total of six:

England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales.

For Sponsorship reasons, the tournament is actually currently called the NatWest 6 Nations.

When is the NatWest 6 Nations?

The 2019 Six Nations Championship takes place from Saturday, February 1st until Saturday, March 17th. Fans of Rugby Union are treated to 5 action-packed weekends of international Rugby!

The final Saturday of the competition is known as ‘Super Saturday’: so known because all three of the final matches happen on the same day!

Six Nations Rugby Fixtures

All times are shown in GMT. Please adjust accordingly to watch the matches overseas.


  • France vs Wales: Friday 1st February 2019 Stade de France, Paris Kick off: 8:00pm, BBC
  • Scotland vs Italy: Saturday 2nd February 2019 BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Kick off: 2:15pm, BBC
  • Ireland vs England: Saturday 2nd February 2019 Aviva Stadium, Dublin Kick off: 4:45pm, ITV.


  • Scotland vs Ireland: Saturday 9th February 2019 BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Kick off: 2:15pm , ITV
  • Italy vs Wales: Saturday 9th February 2019 Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick off: 4:45pm, ITV
  • England vs France: Sunday 10th February 2019 Twickenham Stadium, London Kick off: 3:00pm, BBC


  • France Scotland: Saturday 23rd February 2019 Stade de France, Paris Kick off: 2:15pm, ITV
  • Wales vs England: Saturday 23rd February 2019 Principality Stadium, Cardiff Kick off: 4:45pm, BBC
  • Italy vs Ireland: Sunday 24th February 2019 Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick off: 3:00pm, BBC


  • Scotland vs Wales: Saturday 9th March 2019 BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Kick off: 2:15pm, ITV
  • England vs Italy: Saturday 9th March 2019 Twickenham Stadium, London Kick off: 4:45pm, BBC
  • Ireland vs France: Sunday 10th March 2019 Aviva Stadium, Dublin Kick off: 3:00pm, BBC

ROUND FIVE (Super Saturday)

  • Italy vs France: Saturday 16th March 2019 Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick off: 12:30pm, ITV
  • Wales vs Ireland: Saturday 16th March 2019 Principality Stadium, Cardiff Kick off: 2:45pm, ITV
  • England vs Scotland: Saturday 16th March 2019 Twickenham Stadium, London Kick off: 5:00pm, BBC

NBC to Air Ireland vs England Rugby 6 Nations Live StreamMatch March 17

NBC to Air Ireland vs England Rugby 6 Nations Live StreamMatch March 17
Six Nations Rugby

The final round of the Six Nations Rugby Championship goes down March 17, and NBC will air England versus Ireland on tape delay at noon ET that day. A win for Ireland would see the squad win every match it played in this year’s competition, which Ireland has attained just twice in the history of the championship, which goes back over a century.

Six Nations Rugby

Six Nations Rugby

NBC Sports’s presentation of Ireland versus England will also be shown on WPIX New York at noon ET, due to preemptions by WNBC’s coverage of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York.

Live coverage starts at 8:30 a.m. ET March 17 on NBCSN, as Italy plays Scotland, then CNBC has Wales versus France at 1 p.m. ET.

Streaming service NBC Sports Gold will provide live coverage of Ireland versus England on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET, as well as the other Six Nations matches. NBC sells the service, which includes other elite-level rugby action, for $59.99.


NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey will anchor studio coverage alongside analysts Alex Corbisiero, who played for England, and former USA Rugby captain Dan Lyle.

The annual Six Nations Championship consists of 15 matches played in a round-robin format between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

Ireland has clinched the 2018 Six Nations title by virtue of its 4-0 record, with wins over France, Wales, Italy and Scotland.

Wales vs Scotland: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and team news for Six Nations

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Wales vs Scotland: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and team news for Six Nations

WALES and Scotland will open the 2018 Six Nations at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in a game that is expected to be played on a knife-edge.

Scotland have been backed by many to be the dark horses of the Six Nations, outsiders for the title at 11/1 despite a nine-try win over Australia and very nearly turning over New Zealand in the autumn.

Wales meanwhile are missing at least 10 players through injury and former Lions coach Warren Gatland will have to work all his magic to extract maximum performance out of the line-up.

The Scots ended a decade-long losing streak against the Welsh at Murrayfield last year, winning 29-13, but you have to go back to 2002 to find their last victory in Cardiff.

Wales vs Scotland kick-off time

The 2018 tournament will get underway on Saturday February 3 when Wales kick off against Scotland in Cardiff at 2.15pm.

Wales vs Scotland TV channel

The Six Nations coverage for 2018 has been split between ITV and the BBC once again.

ITV will show all of England’s home games as well as four others while the BBC will retain all of the other eight matches including England’s trips to Edinburgh and Paris.

BBC One has the first match of the tournament, with coverage of Wales vs Scotland presented by John Inverdale starting at 1.45pm.

Wales vs Scotland live stream

Since both ITV and BBC are terrestrial and free-to-air, every game of the Six Nations will be shown live online for free.

Viewers simply need to hold a valid TV licence and may be required to sign in on the BBC website to watch Wales vs Scotland.

Wales team vs Scotland

Starting XV: Leigh Halfpenny; Josh Adams, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Owen Watkin.

Scotland team vs Wales

Starting XV: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Chris Harris, Huw Jones, Byron McGuigan; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.

Replacements: Scott Lawson, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Grant Gilchrist, Ryan Wilson, Greig Laidlaw, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland.

Wales vs Scotland next games

Saturday February 10, England vs Wales (4.45pm; ITV)

Sunday February 11, Scotland vs France (3pm; BBC)


Te’o back for England in Six Nations rugby

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Te’o back for England in Six Nations rugby

Ahead of their opening Six Nations rugby match against Italy in Rome, centre Ben Te’o will play his first England Test for almost a year.

Centre Ben Te’o will play his first England Test for almost a year after overcoming injury to be included in the team to face Italy in Rome in their opening Six Nations rugby match.

After featuring for the British and Irish Lions last year in New Zealand, the hard-running Te’o played only a handful of games for his club Worcester before suffering a bad ankle injury in October that required the insertion of a plate.

After extensive rehabilitation, the former NRL player has done enough in the England camp to impress coach Eddie Jones, and will partner Owen Farrell on Sunday, winning his ninth England cap but making only his second start.

In the absence of injured duo Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes, Sam Simmonds wins a fourth cap at No.8, with Chris Robshaw and Courtney Lawes either side of him in the back row.

Mike Brown retains the fullback jersey, with Anthony Watson and Jonny May on the wings.

Uncapped prop Alec Hepburn has been named among the replacements, as is winger Jack Nowell, who has recovered quicker than expected from an ankle injury, and usual first-choice centre Jonathan Joseph.

England have won all 23 meetings with Italy, averaging 40 points a game, although they had a scare at Twickenham last year when they struggled to deal with the Italians’ surprise “no ruck” tactics before coming from behind at halftime to emerge 36-15 winners.

England, who have lost only one of 23 games under Eddie Jones, are seeking to become the first team to win the Five/Six Nations championship three years in a row.


15 Mike Brown; 14 Anthony Watson; 13 Ben Te’o; 12 Owen Farrell; 11 Jonny May; 10 George Ford; 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola; 2 Dylan Hartley (capt); 3 Dan Cole; 4 Joe Launchbury; 5 Maro Itoje; 6 Courtney Lawes; 7 Chris Robshaw; 8 Sam Simmonds.

Res: 16 Jamie George; 17 Alec Hepburn; 18 Harry Williams; 19 George Kruis; 20 Sam Underhill; 21 Danny Care; 22 Jonathan Joseph; 23 Jack Nowell.


Sam Simmonds to make Six Nations debut for England vs Italy

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Sam Simmonds to make Six Nations debut for England vs Italy

Exeter Chiefs No 8 Sam Simmonds will make his Six Nations debut for England against Italy in Rome on Sunday, having been named to start by Eddie Jones.

Simmonds made his England debut against Argentina in November and with Billy Vunipola (arm), Nathan Hughes (knee) and Zach Mercer (illness) all ruled out through injury – plus James Haskell’s suspension – the 23-year-old has been named to start at No 8 at the Stadio Olimpico.

Elsewhere, Bath centre Jonathan Joseph must make do with a place on the bench as Worcester Warriors centre Ben Te’o starts at outside centre, alongside playmaker Owen Farrell in midfield.


Simmonds’ Exeter Chief team-mate Jack Nowell has been named on the replacements bench having made a ‘miracle recovery’ from an ankle injury.

Nowell had initially been expected to be out for three to four weeks but will provide cover to a back-three of Mike Brown, Anthony Watson and Jonny May.

Another Chiefs player in loosehead Alec Hepburn is in line to make his England debut, having been named among the replacements.

Having been dropped in the autumn, Saracens forward George Kruis returns to the squad as second row cover on the bench, with Courtney Lawes starting on the blindside and Joe Launchbury and Maro Itoje the starting locks.

Leicester Tigers duo Dan Cole and Ben Youngs have been named to start, holding off the challenges of Harry Williams and Danny Care, both of whom are on the bench.

England team to play Italy: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Danny Care, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Jack Nowell.