Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt retain places in England XV for Italy showdown

Saracens pair part of an unchanged England XV

SARACENS duo Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt have retained their places in the England XV for this weekend’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy.

The pair made their England’s bows in last weekend’s 13-6 Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland and are part of an unchanged starting XV for this weekend’s game in Rome.

Former St George’s School pupil Farrell kicked eight points on debut while University of Herts student Barritt impressed in midfield with his hard-hitting approach.

England’s interim head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We have decided to leave the starting team the same to allow them more time to get together, and we are expecting the bench to come on and make an impact as they did last week.”

That means fellow Saracens David Strettle, Charlie Hodgson and Mourtiz Botha also start in Rome with another, Matt Stevens, named among the replacements.

England: Foden; Ashton, Barritt, Farrell, Strettle; Hodgson, Youngs; Dowson, Robshaw, Croft; Palmer, Botha; Cole, Hartley, Corbisiero.

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Replacements: Webber, Stevens, Parling, Morgan, Dickson, Turner-Hall, Brown.