Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of England’s opening Six Nations match, against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Following Ireland’s dominant victory over 14-man France in Marseille last night, we start with some breaking news from one of our men in Rome, Senior Rugby Writer Charlie Morgan , about the England team:
“Ellis Genge has been ruled out of today’s match against Italy in a late charge against England. The Bristol Bears loosehead, who appeared to have recovered from his hamstring trouble to take a place on the bench, has suffered a leg injury. Beno Obano will start among his replacements and we will soon have more details on the severity of Genge’s plight.”
More injuries for Genge, who remains a doubt due to a hamstring strain while on club duty. Genge’s replacement Obano will make only his fourth appearance from the bench at the Stadio Olimpico, and joins Theo Dan and Dan Cole as England’s first-row replacements.
Also a reminder that there are five uncapped players making their England debuts today (and they are all dual-eligible): Ethan Roots in the blindside and Fraser Dingwall in the starting half center; Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will all be available if they come off the bench.
You would think that in Rome it would also be 17 degrees and sunny, perfect conditions for some attacking rugby. While England have promised a bolder approach with a quick settlement of the World Cup now firmly behind them, don’t expect any Harlem Globetrotters games in Rome. The team has been together for just over a week and with sundry injuries to the backline, they will surely only be looking for a professional win against an unknown Italian opponent under new head coach, Gonzalo Quesada .
Confirmed lineup – with that Genge-Obano switch – is next!