England recall Te'o to play alongside Tuilagi against Italy


Bagshot (United Kingdom) (AFP)

England coach Eddie Jones has selected a powerful centre pairing of Ben Te'o and Manu Tuilagi for Saturday's Six Nations international against Italy at Twickenham.

It will be the first time the duo, who both have Pacific Islands heritage, have started a Test together.

Henry Slade has been dropped to the bench to allow Te'o's inclusion at inside centre and Tuilagi's move to outside centre in one of several changes to the team beaten 21-13 by Wales last time out.

Joe Cokanasiga was recalled on the right wing after Jack Nowell failed to recover from a shoulder injury as Australian coach Jones selected his most physical backline since taking over as England coach after the 2015 World Cup.

Cokanasiga made his Six Nations debut when he came off the bench against Wales.

His 18-stone presence adds to the strength of mifielders Te'o and Tuilagi, who weigh in at a combined 34 stone.

Fly-half Owen Farrell remains as captain, with Ben Youngs again starting at scrum-half.

Jones has made five changes in personnel to the side beaten by Wales, with Joe Launchbury starting at lock after Saracens second row Maro Itoje failed to recover from a knee injury.

Defeat by Wales ended England's hopes of a Grand Slam this season.

England, however, have never lost a Test against Italy, with the Azzurri having lost their last 20 Six Nations matches.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea is due to name his side later Thursday.

England (15-1)

Elliot Daly; Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Te'o, Jonny May; Owen Farrell (capt), Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry, Brad Shields; George Kruis, Joe Launchbury; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Ellis Genge

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon, Dan Cole, Nathan Hughes, Mark Wilson, Dan Robson, George Ford, Henry Slade

Coach: Eddie Jones (AUS)