England team to play Italy: 2024 Guinness Six Nations - Ruck

England team to play Italy: 2024 Guinness Six Nations

Head coach Steve Borthwick names his England team to play Italy with a number of uncapped stars set to make their international debut.

RUCK’s 2024 Guinness Six Nations content powered by ISUZU.

Scroll down for the full England team to play Italy.

Ethan Roots from Exeter Chiefs and Fraser Dingwall from Northampton Saints are set to make their Test debuts, having been selected to start at blindside flanker and inside centre, respectively. Additionally, three more uncapped players—Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith, and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso—have been chosen as replacements.

Bothwick said:

“After an excellent week’s preparation in Girona, we look forward to the challenge of playing Italy in Rome. 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.”

“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.”


  •  England have won each of the 30 men’s Test matches they have played against Italy, including all 24 in the Six Nations, their average margin of victory in those 24 Championship matches is 28 points.
  • The last time Italy hosted England in the Six Nations (2022) they failed to score a point as they lost 33-0, it was the first time they’d failed to score a single point against England in the Championship and the sixth and most recent time against any opposition in the tournament. 
  • Italy have won half of their last eight home matches (W4 L4), including each of their last two (v Romania and Japan), the last time they won three on the spin at home was between 1997 and 1998, when they secured victories against Ireland, Scotland and finally Argentina.
  • Italy come into this match off the back of two 50+ point defeats in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, against New Zealand and France, only once in their previous 50 Test matches had they suffered a defeat of this magnitude and not since 1999 had they endured back-to-back losses by such a margin (both v South Africa), they’ve never lost three consecutive matches by 50+ points.

Previous meetings:

  • 2023: England 31-14 Italy
  • 2022: Italy 0-33 England
  • 2021: England 41-18 Italy
  • 2020: Italy 5-34 England
  • 2019: England 37-0 Italy
  • 2019 England 57-14 Italy

England team to play Italy:

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)

Referee’s confirmed for the weekend:

Referee appointments for this weekend’s 2024 Guinness Six Nations matches, including the England vs Italy referee in Rome on Saturday have been confirmed.

France vs Ireland referee
Orange Velodrome, Marseille
Friday, 2 February, 2024

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU)
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Carley (RFU)
Assistant Referee 2: Jordan Way (RA)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Starting his journey as a scrum-half, Dickson showcased his skills at renowned clubs like Bedford Blues and Harlequins, culminating in a heartfelt retirement announcement in 2017. Reflecting on his playing days, he remarked, “I am able to look back at my playing career with great pride. I will cherish the memories that Harlequins has given me, both on and off the field.”

Expressing optimism for the future of his former team under John Kingston’s guidance, Dickson acknowledged the challenge of watching from the sidelines, saying, “It will be difficult to watch on from the peripheries going forward.” Notably, his younger brother, Lee, also left his mark on the rugby field, representing England.

Referee, Karl Dickson during the Gallagher Premiership Match between Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks at Sandy Park on 12 June 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Transitioning seamlessly from player to referee, Dickson embarked on a new chapter by studying to be a referee in 2014, even as he continued his professional playing career. His decision to pursue refereeing over a contract extension with Harlequins reflected a strategic choice for the long term, as he told Career Changers, “When it came to the final year in my contract, I had an offer on the table still from Harlequins to carry on. I thought the long-term-wise refereeing was probably something I wanted to do and pursue.”

Fast forward to 2022, and Karl Dickson is set to make his mark in the prestigious Six Nations tournament as a referee, with his debut match officiating Scotland vs. France. The chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee, Graham Mourie, extended congratulations, noting, “I would like to extend my congratulations to Nika (Amashukeli), Damon (Murphy), and Karl, who will be refereeing their first Six Nations matches.”

Looking ahead, Dickson is poised to make his World Cup debut in the 2023 tournament, taking charge of the Wales vs. Portugal clash. Beyond the rugby arena, Dickson, a family man, shares twin daughters with his wife Jocelyn. Their story began on a night out in Clapham, where Dickson crossed paths with fellow player Mike Brown. Not just a rugby enthusiast, Dickson has also worn the hat of a blogger for the parenting website Baba, adding another dimension to his multifaceted persona.