England vs Italy
7:45pm Friday 6th September
Newcastle, st James Park
Mark Wilson is relishing the chance of stepping out on the St James‘ Park night to face Italy on Friday.
The back row has been called in the starting line-up for its final Quilter International prior to Eddie Jones‘ side head outside to Japan for its Rugby World Cup, with the match taking place.
Wilson has played club at the floor, featuring in Newcastle Falcons‘ Gallagher Premiership clash – the club he will join on loan to the 2019/20 season – .
However, talking to this Will Greenwood podcast, the 29-year-old showed how much it will mean to attribute in a city that has been a part of his life because he joined the Falcons youth set dated 14.
„It will be an extremely proud moment,“ Wilson stated. „I played at St James‘ earlier in this season, against Sale, and it’s such a special location.
„The opportunity to play in such a special arena is something that you’ve got to relish and is something I’m really excited about.
„I suppose it’ll be exciting for a lot of the youngsters who go and observe Newcastle, being in a position to see an England Test match at their front door.
„I’m sure there are a whole great deal of rugby supporters up there who maybe do not get the chance to visit Twickenham much and I’m convinced it’ll be a thrilling experience for them.“
Wilson will make his first start of England’s pre-World Cup campaign while Ruaridh McConnochie is set to win his first cap after two false starts.
The Toilet winger was named to face Wales in the games at the Principality Stadium and Twickenham to need to pull from both due to trauma.
Included in the group are three players from out the 31-man World Cup squad at Charlie Ewels, Joe Marchant and Matt Kvesic. While Ewels and Kvesic are on the replacements bench marchant lines upward at outside centre alongside Piers Francis.
England go into the match on the back of a listing 57-15 triumph over Ireland at Twickenham just under two weeks before, while opponents Italy were beaten at 47-19 by France in Paris last Saturday.
Head coach Connor O’Shea has made 11 changes to the Italian XV with that match, such as attracting Gloucester’s Callum Braley – who qualifies for Italy – in to win his cap for the Azzurri.
„We will confront among the strongest teams in the world in a match which reflects the second step in our preparation for the Rugby World Cup,“ O’Shea said.
„We will have yet another chance to appraise the players‘ form, to be able to understand how to keep the road to the very first game against Namibia. Our focus is on England.“
Italy’s additional Celtics Tests have found them lose 29-10 into Ireland at Dublin, followed with an win in the home to Russia.
England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Curry, seven Mark Wilson, Owen Billy Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Joe Cokanasiga
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Guilio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Benvenuti, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Callum Braley, 1 Nicola Quaglio, two Oliviero Fabiani, 3 Simone Ferrari, 4 David Sisi, 5 Dean Budd, 6 Sebastian Negri, 7 Abraham Steyn, 8 Jimmy Tuivaitai
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Alessandro Zanni, 21 Maxime Mbanda, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Tommaso Allan