2020 Six Nations Championship – Italy vs England Preview & Prediction

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THE FACTS

When is Italy vs England taking place? Saturday 31st October, 2020 – 16:45

Where is Italy vs England taking place? Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Where can I get tickets for Italy vs England? This match will be played without spectators

What channel is Italy vs England on? ITV 1

Where can I stream Italy vs England? Italy vs England can be streamed via ITV Player

THE TEAM NEWS

ITALY

  • The young Italian side were well beaten in their long-awaited fourth Six Nations test away to Ireland on Saturday but they were not totally embarrassed in a 50-17 defeat and managed two tries of their own.
  • The Azzuri have not won a Six Nations match since 2015 and face the unenviable task of hosting England on a mission to increase their points difference.
  • Italy head coach Franco Smith has recalled Mateo Minozzi to the starting line-up after the Wasps fullback played the Gallagher Premiership final against Exeter last weekend.

Starting line-up: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Jake Polledri, 7 Braam Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Niccolo Cannone, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Giosue Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 1 Danilo Fischetti

Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 David Sisi, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Maxime Mbanda, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Federico Mori

ENGLAND

  • England’s scheduled warm-up match with the Barbarians was called off after the shocking revelations that 12 of the opposition squad were stood down for breaking covid-19 rules.
  • England are in a decent position to reclaim the Six Nations championship as they end the tournament on the most winnable fixture but they will face a nerve-wracking wait as they watch the France vs Ireland match unfold later that on Saturday evening.
  • England will travel to Rome without Willi Heinz as he dropped out of the squad with a leg injury but both Mako and Billy Vunipola are fit to start as part of Head Coach Eddie Jones’ favoured back row.

Starting line-up: George Furbank; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Jonny May; Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: Tom Dunn, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Ollie Lawrence, Ollie Thorley

THE PREDICTION

There are so many parameters to which of England, Ireland and France will lift the Six Nations trophy on Saturday that it boggles the mind. However, England’s job is simple: they must score as many points as possible against the worst team in the tournament to secure a bonus point and increase their points difference. Eddie Jones has fielded as strong a team as he can muster here and they look well set to achieve this goal, especially with the pressure off as they get to play before Ireland and France take it down to the wire. Furthermore, the lack of fans in the Stadio Olimpico is likely to affect the performance of Italy more than their visitors and England should be victorious here by a handicap of as much as -30. Whether it is enough will become apparent in Paris to conclude what should be a spectacular day in Six Nations history.

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