The Breakdown: A statistical look at round one of the Six Nations

by Antonio Miles February 5, 2018, 6:12
The Breakdown: A statistical look at round one of the Six Nations

Centre Ben Te'o will play his first England test for nearly a year after overcoming injury to be included in the team named by Eddie Jones to face Italy in Rome in their opening Six Nations match on Sunday. The match will be the first time Te'o has played since October, with the New Zealand-born rugby league convert partnering Owen Farrell in midfield.

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

"Don't get me wrong, he works us extremely hard but that is to get the best out of us".

Nowell added: "For Simmo to play as well as he did - he has been doing that for us all season at Exeter - for him to put an England shirt on and show what he is about on a big stage is awesome".

"We want to be brutal and absolutely ruthless".

More recently, the Azzurri, under the guidance of their Irish coach Conor O'Shea, embarrassed England with their no-ruck ploy at Twickenham a year ago before losing 36-15.

No. 8s Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes are out injured and flanker James Haskell is suspended, but Jones was still able to pick a very strong side captained by Dylan Hartley.

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Youngs was carted off on a stretcher less than 10 minutes into his 56th start for England, which overtook Matt Dawson's record of most starts for an England scrum-half.

Their only two defeats in the last 19 Six Nations fixtures both came against Ireland in Dublin. "We want to start the tournament well and are ready to go hunting against Italy".

Italy face the perennial problem of trying to make sure they are not beaten before they go out on the pitch, although an England sie featuring several untested combinations could give them fresh hope that an upset is possible this time.

"We know we need to get our set-piece right, be defensively strong, and play with aggression and plenty of energy".

By selecting a team featuring seven Six Nations debutants, Italy coach O'Shea has a group ofr players who have not been worn down by repeated failure.

The momentum swung once more after Italy's try, as Owen Farrell coasted through the hosts' defence, which was all at sea, to restore England's advantage.

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