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England unchanged for Italy clash

Chris Robshaw will captain an unchanged England team in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy in Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

Interim coach Stuart Lancaster staged a full-blooded training session on Tuesday afternoon to give every member of the squad a chance to force his way into the starting line-up.

But Lancaster has opted to stick by the same team that launched England's title defence with a gritty 13-6 victory over Scotland last weekend.

Northampton's Phil Dowson has held off a challenge from Ben Morgan to keep his place at number eight, in direct opposition to the dynamic Italy captain Sergio Parisse.

Morgan will be primed to make an impact off the bench at the sold-out Olympic Stadium, just as the 22-year-old did on a confident Test debut against Scotland.

Charlie Hodgson has recovered from a blow to the shoulder to continue at fly-half, with Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt again forming an all-Saracens midfield.

Saints scrum-half Lee Dickson has recovered from a hand injury to retain his place on the bench, where England stick with a four-three split between forwards and backs.

Lancaster said: "We have decided to leave the starting team the same to allow them more time to gel together and we are expecting our bench to come on and make an impact as they did last week. Italy will be a very difficult challenge with nearly 700 caps in their starting line-up and it promises to be an outstanding occasion at the sold-out Stadio Olimpico."

England team: B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), B Barritt (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), D Strettle (Saracens); C Hodgson (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), M Botha (Saracens), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), P Dowson (Northampton Saints).

Replacements: R Webber (London Wasps), M Stevens (Saracens), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), B Morgan (Scarlets), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), M Brown (Harlequins).


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