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Sunday 10 December 2017

Stuart Lancaster sticks with winning formula for Azzurri

England have named an unchanged team to face Italy in the Six Nations at Twickenham tomorrow, sticking with the starting 15 who beat Wales 21-16 in their opener.

It means Jonathan Joseph, who scored a try against Wales, and George Kruis will make their first Twickenham starts.

Coach Stuart Lancaster's replacement bench is also unchanged with Sale out- half Danny Cipriani, who has not featured in a home international since 2008, again one of his backup options.

"It's always good to be able to name an unchanged team and to build some consistency," he said.

"We did the same last year after France heading into the Scotland game.

"Italy are going to be fired up. They always are when they come to Twickenham, especially after the loss to Ireland."

Lancaster (left) said the selection process was not as easy as it seemed.

"There are a lot of good players who are just on the outside of the squad who probably deserve a chance and are going to have to wait patiently," he said.

"It was a good performance (against Wales) and I think the players who played in that game deserve to go again. It helps breed consistency. You can learn together and move on together as a group."

The coach pointed to the laboured 18-11 win over Italy at Twickenham in 2013 as a strong sign that England were in for a tough test again.

"If you don't get the detail right you find it difficult against them.

"Across the board they will clearly make every element of the game competitive and disrupt as much as possible."

england v italy, live rte2/bbc1, tomorrow (2.30)

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