Leicester Tigers half-back George Ford has been recalled to the England starting XV for their Guinness 6 Nations clash with Italy at Twickenham on Saturday. 

The 27-year-old, who has helped the Tigers into fourth place in the preliminary standings of the European Rugby Challenge Cup, is promoted off the bench to be reunited with his club half-back partner, Ben Youngs. 

With England skipper Owen Farrell shifted from fly-half to inside centre to allow Ford to return, Worcester Warriors’ Ollie Lawrence is dropped. 

Indeed, there isn’t even a place for the 21-year-old on the bench, with England head coach Eddie Jones opting for a 6-2 split in favour of the forwards for his finishers. 

Prop Ellis Genge is the third Leicester Tiger in the 23-strong squad, after being replaced in the XV by Saracens’ Mako Vunipola.

Italy also make changes after their 50-10 defeat to France in Rome, with the experienced Zebre Rugby Club duo of inside centre Carlo Canna and loose-head prop Andrea Lovotti being recalled to the starting XV by head coach Franco Smith.

Canna starts in place of the injured Marco Zanon, moving last week’s debutant, Benetton Rugby’s Juan Ignacio Brex, to No.13, while Lovotti will make his first international appearance in almost a year in place of Daniele Rimpelli.