Saracens - Itoje set for debut as Vunipola brothers Kruis and Farrell start in Rome

Feb 12, 2016

Itoje set for debut as Vunipola brothers Kruis and Farrell start in Rome


Eddie Jones has promoted loosehead prop Mako Vunipola to his starting side to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday (kick-off 2pm, live on ITV).

Saracens’ Vunipola, who made a big impact off the bench in last week’s Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland, is selected in front of Harlequins’ Joe Marler as England go head-to-head with an Italian side who narrowly lost to France in Paris last weekend.

Mako joins brother Billy Vunipola and George Kruis in the England pack, with Owen Farrell continuing at inside centre. On the bench, Maro Itoje rapid rise shows no signs of abating with the Saracens forward named alongside club-mates Jamie George and Alex Goode on the bench.

Elsewhere, Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs replace Joe Launchbury and Danny Care who both move to the bench. Elsewhere Saracens’ second row Maro Itoje is included as a replacement for the first time joining fellow debutant Paul Hill (Northampton Saints) who was unused last weekend.

Speaking about having six Saracens involved in Rome at the weekend, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: “To have a number of Saracens players involved in England’s fixture in Rome and Duncan Taylor included in Scotland’s side to face Wales is great news for the club, and we’re always proud to see our players represent their country. We wish them well and I’m sure they’ll do the team and the club proud.”

England match-day 23 to face Italy  

15 Mike Brown (vice captain, Harlequins, 44 caps) 

14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 16 caps)

13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)

12 Owen Farrell (vice captain, Saracens, 36 caps)

11 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps)

10 George Ford (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)

9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 28 caps) 

2 Dylan Hartley (captain, Northampton Saints, 67 caps)

3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 57 caps)

4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 43 caps)

5 George Kruis (Saracens, 11 caps)

6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 44 caps)

7 James Haskell (Wasps, 63 caps)

8 Billy Vunipola (vice captain, Saracens, 22 caps)

Replacements

16 Jamie George (Saracens, 4 caps)

17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 38 caps)

18 Paul Hill (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 29 caps)

20 Maro Itoje (Saracens, uncapped)

21 Jack Clifford (Harlequins, 1 cap)

22 Danny Care (Harlequins, 54 caps)

23 Alex Goode (Saracens, 19 caps)

Saracens Academy pipped at the post away to London Irish

A spirited Saracens Academy side were defeated by Southern Conference leaders London Irish at Hazlewood over the weekend, with the Exiles edging Sarries 27-24.

The defending Premiership Academy champions ran the in-form Exiles close in a contest high in quality and drama, with Irish kicking a late penalty to snatch the win.

Three tries, one from the impressive loose forward Ben Earl and one-a-piece from lock forward Joel Kpoku and playmaker Tom Ffitch.

Speaking after his side’s loss, Academy Manager Don Barrell praised Saracens’ spirit but was left to rue a few missed chances after the game.

“The team played well in the main,” said Barrell whose side now sits third in the Southern Conference after six games. “We had good energy and worked hard to pressure Irish across the board but we missed a few chances to take points and score in the match. We should have moved to a bigger margin, but in fairness to them they defended well.

“It was a great game of U18 rugby which both sides played in great spirit, and we can take a lot away from a disappointing result but a positive performance on the whole.”

Saracens ran into a 0-7 lead after Ben Earl’s score, only for the Exiles’ Matt Williams to dance through the Saracens defence to score to draw the game.

Sarries edged in front with a penalty goal but Irish hit back with their second try of the game.

Yet, Barrell’s side to their credit hit back with two tries of their own through Kpoku and Ffitch, but in a topsy-turvy contest an Exiles response was never too far away as two scores from the home side levelled things up at 24-all.

With the game in its dying embers, Irish were awarded a penalty, which they kicked to break Sarries hearts.

FT: London Irish Academy 27 Saracens Academy 24

Saracens Academy: 15 Will Kaye; 14 Alex Gilham, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Nick Ramsey, 11 Elliot Obatoyinbo; 10 Tom Ffitch, 9 Alex Glickstein; 1 Taylor Reed, 2 Harrison King, 3 Seb Brownhill; 4 Joel Kpoku, 5 Zach Conley; 6 Jack Nay, 7 Sean Reffell, 8 Ben Earl.

Replacements: 16 Billy Young, 17 Andy Christie, 18 James Gallagher, 19 Sid Holland, 20 Oscar Furneaux, 21 James Elms, 22 Jack Longhurst, 23 Reuben Bird-Tullock

Academy pipped at the post away to London Irish

A spirited Saracens Academy side were defeated by Southern Conference leaders London Irish at Hazlewood over the weekend, with the Exiles edging Sarries 27-24.

The defending Premiership Academy champions ran the in-form Exiles close in a contest high in quality and drama, with Irish kicking a late penalty to snatch the win.

Three tries, one from the impressive loose forward Ben Earl and one-a-piece from lock forward Joel Kpoku and playmaker Tom Ffitch.

Speaking after his side’s loss, Academy Manager Don Barrell praised Saracens’ spirit but was left to rue a few missed chances after the game.

“The team played well in the main,” said Barrell whose side now sits third in the Southern Conference after six games. “We had good energy and worked hard to pressure Irish across the board but we missed a few chances to take points and score in the match. We should have moved to a bigger margin, but in fairness to them they defended well.

“It was a great game of U18 rugby which both sides played in great spirit, and we can take a lot away from a disappointing result but a positive performance on the whole.”

Saracens ran into a 0-7 lead after Ben Earl’s score, only for the Exiles’ Matt Williams to dance through the Saracens defence to score to draw the game.

Sarries edged in front with a penalty goal but Irish hit back with their second try of the game.

Yet, Barrell’s side to their credit hit back with two tries of their own through Kpoku and Ffitch, but in a topsy-turvy contest an Exiles response was never too far away as two scores from the home side levelled things up at 24-all.

With the game in its dying embers, Irish were awarded a penalty, which they kicked to break Sarries hearts.

FT: London Irish Academy 27 Saracens Academy 24

Saracens Academy: 15 Will Kaye; 14 Alex Gilham, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Nick Ramsey, 11 Elliot Obatoyinbo; 10 Tom Ffitch, 9 Alex Glickstein; 1 Taylor Reed, 2 Harrison King, 3 Seb Brownhill; 4 Joel Kpoku, 5 Zach Conley; 6 Jack Nay, 7 Sean Reffell, 8 Ben Earl.

Replacements: 16 Billy Young, 17 Andy Christie, 18 James Gallagher, 19 Sid Holland, 20 Oscar Furneaux, 21 James Elms, 22 Jack Longhurst, 23 Reuben Bird-Tullock

Du Plessis was superb, and I’m not sure how he wasn’t Man of the Match, as to scrummage that way against Marcos Ayerza takes some doing. I thought he was brilliant today." - See more at: http://www.saracens.com/news-article/mccall-hails-pack-performance-after-tigers-result#sthash.tZ9etc1v.dpuf

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