England’s opening match will be their 250th at Twickenham as they look to continue their 100% record against Italy, in their first match of this year’s tournament.
Flanker Steffon Armitage is poised to make his international debut alongside brother Delon and the pair will become only the ninth set of siblings to play in the same England team.
Italy are fielding a strong side, Mauro Bergamasco, normally a flanker, starts at scrum-half for Italy. The brother of Italy winger Mirco has also played on the wing for the Azzurri, and Italy coach Nick Mallett said he “didn’t have much choice” at number nine. “This is something I want to try. Mauro has no fear of these type of games and I hope he has a great game against England,” said Mallet. “This is a difficult game for Mauro but the whole team is behind him.”
Italy may not have beaten England yet but came close last year with a 23-19 loss in Rome. Nevertheless it would still be a major shock if they were to prevail at Twickenham.
LAST 7 SIX NATIONS RESULTS
2008: Italy 19-23 England
2007: England 20-7 Italy
2006: Italy 16-31 England
2005: England 39-7 Italy
2004: Italy 9-50 England
2003: England 40-5 Italy
2002: Italy 9-45 England