‘England’s back-up forwards to play key role’ – Jones

‘Nobody has hit better than me this week’ – Koepka on his ball-striking during third round

England's replacement forwards will play a key role when they take on Italy in their Six Nations clash in Rome on Sunday.

That was the word from England boss Eddie Jones after he named a six-two (forwards/backs) split for the encounter.

Jones has made three changes to the side that beat Scotland 15-9 on Saturday, bringing in prop Mako Vunipola, lock Courtney Lawes and scrum-half Ben Youngs.

Jones believes his six forwards on the bench will be key against Italy.

“We want a bit more of a running game at the start and all of the guys relegated to the bench will play a significant part in the game,” said Jones.

“Against Italy it is a game that has a lot of set piece and we want to tire out their tight five so play the game through the forwards early on."

He feels the introduction of Vunipola and Lawes will allow his side to make a quick start, with the Northampton lock in particular expected to make an huge impact.

“All we’ve done is change the batting order and that suits the sort of game we want to play against Italy,” he added.

“We were happy with Joe Marler’s performance, Joe Launchbury was a bit off colour so we’ve given Courtney an opportunity and Joe will finish the game.

"With Ben Youngs we want a bit more of a running game at the start of the game, so he gets the nod over Danny Care.

“Courtney will give us a bit of oomph at the start and with Mako we want a bit of ball carrying in the tight five.

“Last week we needed more forwards off the bench, if we had more forwards off the bench then we would have been able to finish stronger. We are not set by tradition."

Among the replacements on Sunday is uncapped forward Maro Itoje and Jones said the Saracens player has great potential for the future.

“He is a young kid, with a good head on his shoulders,” explained Jones.

“He is like a Vauxhall Viva now so we want to make him into a BMW, he has a lot of work to do, but he has got potential.

“He has done well with his games at Saracens, he has been asked to address a few areas and he has done that and has trained well so therefore deserves his opportunity."