Lawes hungry for Six Nations after bulking up on McDonald's

Casey Dawson
February 5, 2018

If England coach Eddie Jones retained any doubts about Sam Simmonds' suitability as an global No. 8 prior to defeating Italy in the Six Nations, his misgivings would have been allayed by the Exeter forward's barnstorming championship debut. In that space of time England scored a couple of classic first-phase tries.

It did not take Eddie Jones long after he took charge of England at the end of 2015 to appreciate that his assessment of Chris Robshaw during that year's World Cup as a forward who did not have a point of difference, was a club rather than an worldwide player and not an openside flanker, was unfair.

England begin their quest for a third successive Six Nations crown on Sunday as they face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico shorn of several experienced players - Haskell included - due to a combination of injuries and suspension. He will tell players to work on two or three aspects and is very to the point.

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".

"Tonight we're going to enjoy it, I want the boys to enjoy the win".

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

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. "I'm proud of them, relax a little bit and then we'll get onto Wales tomorrow, recover properly then get onto Wales".

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Sam Simmonds, an impressive ball-carrier with Premiership champions Exeter starts at No.8 after injuries ruled out both Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes.

Dylan Hartley remains as England captain, with the hooker winning his 90th cap.

Chris Robshaw during an England pre-Six Nations training session at Pennyhill Park.

"This is global rugby and these games are always intense encounters and we're expecting that intensity against Italy".

Te'o's only previous England start was also against Italy a year ago when they they struggled to deal with the Italians' surprise "no ruck" tactics before coming from behind at halftime to emerge 36-15 winners.

New Zealand-born lock Dean Budd is in a pack featuring flankers Sebastian Negri, born in Zimbabwe, and Renato Giammarioli as well as prop Simone Ferrari. But the scoreline perhaps didn't reflect what we saw on the pitch.

England wing Anthony Watson score two unconverted tries inside the opening 11 minutes.

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