Hill to make England debut
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs lock Jonny Hill will make his Test debut after been named in Eddie Jones’ England side for Saturday’s key Guinness Six Nations tie against Italy (4:45pm).
Fresh from helping the Chiefs to lift the Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup in recent weeks, the 26-year-old forward will now get to pull on an England jersey for the first time.
It’s rich reward for the gifted second-row who has played a stellar role in helping the Chiefs secure a historic double this season.
Hill will be joined in the starting line-up by club-mate Henry Slade, but there is no place in the match-day squad for prop Harry Williams.
Elsewhere, Ben Youngs is set to make his 100th cap for his country, at scrum half – becoming the second most capped England men’s player of all time after Jason Leonard (114 caps). Youngs made his senior team debut against Scotland in March 2010, where he came on as a substitute in the Calcutta Cup.
There is also a milestone for hooker Jamie George, who will make his 50th appearance for England this weekend.
Both players will lead England out at the Stadio Olimpico. England need a bonus-point win to put them in contention for winning the tournament, depending on the result in France versus Ireland, which follows the game in Rome.
Uncapped trio Tom Dunn, Ollie Lawrence and Ollie Thorley are named as finishers, alongside scrum half Dan Robson. Props Ellis Genge and Will Stuart also join the bench with Charlie Ewels and Ben Earl.
Jones said: “We’ve trained with good intensity this week and the squad are excited by the challenge of performing at our best against Italy.
“The team have prepared well and are looking forward to putting on an England shirt and showing what they can do.
“We will also celebrate two major achievements in Ben Youngs and Jamie George’s cap milestones. It’s testimony to their skill, hard work and love of playing for England, and there is more to come from both of them.”
Italy v England is live on ITV 1 and BBC Radio 5 Live (4.45pm GMT KO).
ENGLAND SIDE TO FACE ITALY
15. George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 50 caps)
12. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 56 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 83 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 59 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 49 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 35 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 38 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 23 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps)
16. Tom Dunn, (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 2 caps)
22. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
23. Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)