Marcus Smith has been benched by England head coach Steve Borthwick in favor of Owen Farrell, who will start at fly-half against Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday.
From inside center, where he appeared in the defeat against Scotland, Borthwick has moved his captain.
With Joe Marchant not included in the 23, Ollie Lawrence teams up with Henry Slade in a brand-new center partnership.
Ben Curry is replaced by Jack Willis in the back row, and Henry Arundell of the London Irish is one of the replacements on the wing.
Steward, Malins, Slade, Lawrence, Hassell-Collins, Farrell (captain), Van Poortvliet, Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Chessum, Ludlam, Willis, and Dombrandt are the players for England.
Walker, M. Vunipola, Cole, Isiekwe, Earl, Mitchell, M. Smith, and Arundell are the replacements.
The crucial choice for Borthwick was which fly-half to select, and the Harlequins’ Smith, who has yet to consistently shown his club form on the international level, has suffered as a result of last weekend’s defeat to Scotland.
In order to partner the talented Lawrence, Exeter’s Slade returns from a hip injury, and Marchant, who started in midfield alongside Farrell last week, is not even a replacement.
Willis replaces Curry at openside flanker in the starting XV as the only other alteration. Curry, like Marchant, is not included in the matchday squad at all.
After losing to Scotland in the first round, England is looking to bounce back and earn Borthwick’s first victory.
Despite the Calcutta Cup defeat last weekend, Borthwick stated that “good steps have been achieved in a very short length of time towards the manner and style in which we want to play.”
“We are at the beginning of a brand-new cycle. New system implementation does require some time.
“I have chosen a team that, in my opinion, is best equipped to handle the unique challenges that Italy will present. It is a group of players chosen because their performance, individual skills, and overall attributes fit the style of play we plan to use against Italy.
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