Home Estate Planning Ford set to beat Smith to England 10 shirt against Italy in Six Nations

Ford set to beat Smith to England 10 shirt against Italy in Six Nations

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George Ford is set to partner Danny Care for England on Saturday in Steve Borthwick’s side’s Six Nations opener against Italy.

The England head coach has backed experience after a number of injuries and absentees somewhat forced Borthwick’s hand.

The side who finished third in last year’s Rugby World Cup are without fly-half Marcus Smith due to a calf injury and are set to be without scrum-half Alex Mitchell due to an infected cut on his leg.

It means veterans Ford (91 caps) and Care (96 caps) look set to open England’s Six Nations campaign against the Azzurri on Saturday.

It also means youngster Fin Smith, also a fly-half, is set to make his England debut from the bench, according to reports, alongside a potential appearance from Exeter wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, whom England poached from Wales.

Feyi-Waboso’s teammate Ethan Roots is set for a start in the back-row while captain Jamie George begins his tenure at hooker.

It will be the first match for Gonzalo Quesada in charge of the Azzurri after the Argentinian took over the role from Kieran Crowley after last year’s World Cup. 

It comes as number-crunchers at insurers QBE have given England just a six per cent chance of winning the Championship. 

That is even less than Scotland, who have never won the championship since it expanded 25 years ago but have a 10 per cent chance, according to the insurer.

Holders Ireland are the favourites with a 46 per cent probability, ahead of France on 33 per cent.

“The QBE predictor anticipates a record Grand Slam for Ireland but this is dependent on a close win against France followed by four further victories,” said the company’s director of underwriting David Jones.

“The predictor backs Ireland, England and Scotland to win on the opening weekend of the 2024 Six Nations tournament despite all playing away from home, underlining the point that we must be prepared for surprise outcomes.”

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