Te'o in line for first England start

by AAP

Former NRL star Ben Te'o is set to make his first start for England in a new-look centre pairing in the Six Nations rugby match against Italy at Twickenham.

The Auckland-born former rugby league back-rower's expected promotion to starting inside centre comes after coach Eddie Jones dropped Jonathan Joseph from his 24-man squad for Sunday's (Monday AEDT) game.

It is the second time the Bath centre has been dropped by Jones, after making way for Elliot Daly in last autumn's victory over South Africa, and it is his rival from Wasps who could also usurp him at outside centre on this occasion.

Owen Farrell, who is set to win his 50th cap, is in contention at five-eighth inside a midfield partnership that is expected to see Te'o start alongside Daly.

Te'o, 30, who played State of Origin rugby league for Queensland, made a telling impact when coming off the bench against France and Wales, while Daly has been among England's best backs since breaking into the starting XV last autumn.

Anthony Watson is poised to appear in an England match-day squad for the first time since the June tour to Australia after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered last month.

Anthony Watson has suffered a hamstring injury. Photo: Getty ImagesAlong with Daly, Watson is seen as a possible long-term replacement for Mike Brown at fullback.

Brown is present among the 24 and will start against Italy, with Watson, Jonny May and Jack Nowell appearing to be in contention for the wing spots.

England may give James Haskell his first start since the clean sweep of the Wallabies after declaring the openside is fit enough to step up from the 'finisher' role he has performed so far in the Six Nations.

Wales and Italy have both named their teams for this weekend's matches, with George North set to make a much-anticipated return to the Welsh lineup.


England vs Italy - Monday February 27, 2am AEDT

England: TBC


Andrew Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Lorenzi Cittadini, Marco Fuser, Andries Van Schalkwyk, Abraham Steyn, Simone Favaro, Sergio Parisse, Edoardo Gori, Tommaso Allan, Giovanbattista Venditti, Luke McLean, Michele Campagnaro, Giulio Bisegni, Edoardo Padovani. Reserves: Ornel Gega, Michele Rizzo, Pietro Ceccarelli, George Biagi, Maxime Mbanda, Giorgio Bronzini, Carlo Canna, Tommaso Benvenuti.

Scotland vs Wales- Sunday February 26, 1:25am AEDT

Scotland: TBC


Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Tomas francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Jonathan Davies, George North, Leigh Halfpenny. Reserves: Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts