Lock Charlie Ewels says England can use their opening Six Nations defeat to Scotland to inspire them as they now look to embark on a winning run in the tournament, starting with Sunday’s clash in Rome against Italy (England to win by 1-12 points inclusive – 9/2).
England were beaten 20-17 at Murrayfield last weekend as the competition began on a disappointing note for Eddie Jones’ (pictured) side, who must now bounce back against Italy.
Jones’ men are overwhelming 1/25 favourites to get their Six Nations campaign going with a victory against the Italians, who are on a record run of 33 Six Nations defeats and have never beaten England, with their last victory in the Six Nations coming way back in 2015. A shock Italy triumph on Sunday is 18/1 with the tie 50/1.
There were positive elements to the Azzurri’s 37-10 defeat to France last week but England know they are expected to come out on top as comfortable winners at the Stadio Olimpico and Ewels says losing the first game is nothing new to this England team.
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“We’ve been here before in 2020,” he told BBC Sport. “We went away to the Stade de France and lost to a good French team, then we went on to win every game and win the tournament.
“A lot of this group has been through that experience recently and understands that it is a long tournament and it’s still under our control and the next challenge is against Italy this weekend.”
Head coach Jones has made six changes and two positional alterations from the defeat against the Scots with Joe Marchant moving from the left wing to outside centre, while Jack Nowell will make his first start since the 2019 Six Nations and Harry Randall replaces Ben Youngs at scrum-half.
Jamie George and Will Stuart come in at hooker and tight-head prop and Ewels starts in the second row, with Maro Itoje set to play at blindside flanker while Alex Dombrandt will wear number eight in place of Sam Simmonds.
Jones says he is excited about the team he has picked and he hopes they can turn on the style in the Italian capital.
He said: “We’ve set ourselves the target of playing really well and lighting up Rome. We’ve made some changes and this is the best side to face Italy. We want to start fast and take the game to them.
“It’s been a difficult week, but the players have bounced back well, trained hard and are ready to put on a good performance.”
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