England will continue their quest to reclaim the Six Nations title on Sunday when they travel to face an Italy team motivated to make up for their near miss at the Stade de France last time out.
The Azzurri suffered a 23-21 defeat in Paris thanks to Jules Plisson's late penalty winner, while Eddie Jones got off to a victorious start as England coach after watching his side beat Scotland 15-9 at Murrayfield.David Rogers/Getty Images
Jacques Brunel's men have conceded a total of 99 points in their last two meetings with England, but both teams battled through stiff contests in Week 1 and will be eager to improve in their next outing.
Read on for a full match preview ahead of Sunday's tie, along with all the necessary viewing information to make sure you don't miss out on the action.
Date: Sunday, February 14
Time: 2 p.m. GMT/9 a.m. ET
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Live Stream: ITV Player (UK)
TV Info: ITV
Maro Itoje Finally in the Frame
It's been a long time coming, but Saracens starlet Maro Itoje looks likely to finally get his chance to trot out for the Red Rose this Sunday, which could very well be the start of something big.
The 21-year-old has impressed in Premiership circles for a while now, and Rugby World writer Paul Williams has predicted it won't be long until the youngster achieves "undroppable" status:
Great to see Itoje on the bench for England.
Will only take 10 tests and that lad will become undroppable.— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams)
Jones is spoilt for choice at second row, and after Itoje's Saracens team-mate George Kruis showed his mettle by scoring the opening try of last Saturday's win in Edinburgh, the locks look to be in good shape.
Speaking to the media on Friday, however, the England coach voiced his belief that Itoje still has a lot of developing to do, taking the opportunity to liken his emerging force to a Vauxhall Viva, per the Telegraph's Giles Mole:
Joe (Launchbury) was a bit off colour so we will go with Courtney (Lawes). If we get set piece and defence right that will give us an opportunity to get attack right. We think the 23 can do a job, the 6-2 slit suits how we want to play. Maro (Itoje) is a young kid, with a good head, he's a Vauxhall Viva and we want to make him a BMW. He has a lot of potential.
Kruis will once again start in the pack alongside the promoted Courtney Lawes, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see an energetic Itoje come off the bench and dazzle late on in Rome.
Italy Asking Questions in RomeJean Catuffe/Getty Images
Italy fans will have rightly left the Stade de France last Saturday knowing the result could have so easily turned in their favour were it not for some later lapses in concentration against Les Bleus.
Brunel opted to give some less experienced players their chance in the XV, and it led to the question of whether this was an improved Italy team or if France had just underperformed in their first match under Guy Noves.
Italy have chosen to stick to their guns for the most part this time out, and full-back Luke McLean is the only change, as confirmed by Eat Sleep Rugby, coming in for 22-year-old David Odiete:
Luke McLean is the only change for the Italy starting side for their #6Nations game against England on Sunday.— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby)
The Azzurri will be full of gusto as they return to Rome for their first home fixture of this year's tournament, but an England side that's been consistently challenging for the Six Nations title in recent years will be a greater task.