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Other SportsDingwall and Roots to make England debuts in Six Nations opener

Dingwall and Roots to make England debuts in Six Nations opener

Steve Borthwick has named debutants Fraser Dingwall and Ethan Roots in his England starting XV to face Italy in the first game of their Six Nations campaign on Saturday.

England have endured a troubled build-up to the Six Nations, losing Courtney Lawes and Jonny May to retirement and Ollie Lawrence, Manu Tuilagi and Marcus Smith to injury since they claimed the bronze medal at the World Cup in France last year.

Furthermore, former captain Owen Farrell and Joe Marchant have made themselves unavailable for selection, forcing Borthwick to name a new-look side for this weekend’s trip to Rome.

Northampton Saints’ Dingwall has been selected at inside centre, while Exeter Chiefs’ Roots will play at blind-side flanker.

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Three further uncapped players are named among the replacements, with Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso on the bench.

Speaking to England Rugby’s website, Borthwick said: “After an excellent week’s preparation in Girona, we look forward to the challenge of playing Italy in Rome.

“We’ll need to make good decisions, keep our discipline, and maintain a level of intensity to our performance from the first whistle to the last.

“Winning a first cap for your country is always a very special occasion. We’re delighted for the debutants who have all worked incredibly hard to get themselves selected in the 23 to face Italy.

“I know Saturday will be a very proud moment for the players and their families. My message to them this week has been to be themselves, to grasp their opportunity, and to play with the strengths and skills that deservedly got them selected to a strong Six Nations squad.”

England XV to face Italy: Freddie Steward; Tommy Freeman, Henry Slade, Fraser Dingwall, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Joe Marler, Jamie George (c), Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum, Ethan Roots, Sam Underhill, Ben Earl.

Replacements: Theo Dan, Ellis Genge, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Chandler Cunningham-South, Danny Care, Fin Smith, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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