George Ford will start in the number ten shirt for England when they kick off their Guinness Six Nations campaign against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday 3rd February (kick-off 2.15pm GMT live on ITV1). 

The Sharks fly-half has been named as vice-captain by England men’s head coach Steve Borthwick, who has picked two uncapped players with Ethan Roots and Fraser Dingwall both earning a starting place. 

In the front row, Joe Marler is named at loosehead and packs down with skipper Jamie George at hooker and Will Stuart at tighthead. At lock, vice-captain Maro Itoje partners Ollie Chessum. The back row sees debutant Roots on the blindside flank, Sam Underhill at openside and Ben Earl will wear the No.8 shirt. 
In the half-back berths, scrum-half Alex Mitchell is paired with vice-captain Ford at 10. The midfield sees Dingwall named at inside centre to win his maiden England cap, with Henry Slade at 13. 
In the back three, Elliot Daly starts on the left wing, with Tommy Freeman on the right and Freddie Steward selected at full-back to round off the starting line-up.   
Amongst the replacements, back-row forward Chandler Cunningham-South, wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and fly-half Fin Smith will all win their first England caps when they join the action. They take their places alongside Theo Dan, Ellis Genge (vice-captain), Dan Cole, Alex Coles and Danny Care on the bench. 
“After an excellent week’s preparation in Girona, we look forward to the challenge of playing Italy in Rome,” said Borthwick. 
“The Azzurri are a dangerous team, with some talented ball carriers and players who like to find space. 
“We’ll need to make good decisions, keep our discipline, and maintain a level of intensity to our performance from the first whistle to the last.” 
Commenting on the selection of England’s five uncapped players, Borthwick added: 
“Winning a first cap for your country is always a very special occasion. We’re delighted for the debutants who have all worked incredibly hard to get themselves selected in the 23 to face Italy. I know Saturday will be a very proud moment for the players and their families. My message to them this week has been to be themselves, to grasp their opportunity, and to play with the strengths and skills that deservedly got them selected to a strong Six Nations squad.”  
Saturday 3 February 2024 
Stadio Olimipico 
Kick-off: 2.15pm (GMT) 
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps) 
14. Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 3 caps) 
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 57 caps) 
12. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped) 
11. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 64 caps) 
10. George Ford (Sale Sharks, 91 caps) – vice captain 
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 11 caps)  
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 88 caps) 
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 85 caps) – captain    
3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 33 caps) 
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 76 caps) – vice captain     
5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps) 
6. Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped) 
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 30 caps) 
8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 25 caps) 
16. Theo Dan (Saracens, 7 caps) 
17. Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 58 caps) – vice captain     
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 107 caps) 
19. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, 3 caps) 
20. Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins, uncapped) 
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 96 caps)   
22. Fin Smith (Northampton Saints, uncapped) 
23. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped) 

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