Unchanged England wary of Italy

England refuse to see Italians as easy targets in second Six Nations match as they gun for first trophy since 2003.

    Hendre Fourie has been added to the squad but England are set to field the same team against Italy [GALLO/GETTY]

    England coach Martin Johnson named an unchanged England team to play Italy at Twickenham as he looked to build on the good start made in their opening Six Nations victory over Wales in Cardiff last week.

    The only change in the squad is the introduction of flanker Hendre Fourie on the bench for Joe Worsley after he recovered from a calf strain.

    Friday's 26-19 win, England's first Six Nations success in Wales since 2003, has given them the ideal platform to push for their first title since their grand slam of that year.

    With successive home games against Italy, France and Scotland, before a trip to Ireland to finish, they are well placed and Johnson said it was important to overcome the usual discussion that the Italian game on Saturday would be the easiest.

    "There was big build-up for that Wales game and this isn't seen as the biggest match of the week but the way we are looking at it is that they are the only team who can beat us this week," Johnson said on Thursday.

    "We have the same conversations year in, year out but with Italy but they are very tough games.

    "They should have won last week and they put you under pressure.

    "We know what they are about, they're quite good and then people say 'you didn't play very well did you?'."

    Many people indeed said that last year after England, who haven't won the Six Nations since their 2003 Grand Slam months before their World Cup triumph, laboured to a desperately dull 17-12 win in Rome.

    "Number one is to win, number two to avoid major injuries and then maybe worry about whether it was an entertaining game or not," Johnson said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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