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England drop centre Joseph for Italy Six Nations match

Jonathan Joseph started in the victories over France and Wales but has been left out of Sunday’s match with Italy
Six Nations: England v Italy
Venue: Twickenham Date: Sunday, 26 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

England centre Jonathan Joseph has been left out of the squad preparing to face Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Joseph, 25, has played in all 15 Tests under Eddie Jones but is back with Bath after being cut from a 24-man squad.

Elliot Daly is favourite to start at outside centre, with Ben Te’o also pushing for a starting berth, while James Haskell is set to return on the open-side flank.

England will confirm their starting XV and replacements on Friday morning.

They need to shed one more player from the retained squad when they select their matchday 23.

If selected in the run-on XV Haskell would be making his first start since June 2016.

The 31-year-old spent six months out with a foot injury before featuring as a replacement in victories over France and Wales in this year’s Six Nations.

Six Nations table
Won Drawn Lost For Against Bonus Pts Points
1 England 2 0 0 40 32 0 8
2 Ireland 1 0 1 85 37 2 6
3 Wales 1 0 1 49 28 1 5
4 France 1 0 1 38 35 1 5
5 Scotland 1 0 1 43 44 1 5
6 Italy 0 0 2 17 96 0 0

Prop Mako Vunipola and wing Anthony Watson have been included after recovering from injury, but both may be used from the bench against the Azzurri.

England trained last week with Owen Farrell at fly-half and Teo’o and Daly in the centre, a combination which has yet to start a Test.

In recent matches Farrell has played at inside centre, outside starting fly-half George Ford.

But assistant coach Steve Borthwick says vice-captain Farrell, who is set to win his 50th cap, will be an influence wherever he is selected.

“It’s great we have versatility there, it allows flexibility,” Borthwick said. “He is a great player and a fantastic leader.”

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Campagnaro returns for Italy

Michele Campagnaro was among the try scorers as Exeter hammered Worcester at the weekend

Italy have recalled Exeter centre Michele Campagnaro as they make four changes for Sunday’s match.

Three come in the backs, with fly-half Tommaso Allan and wing Giulio Bisegni joining Campagnaro in the starting XV.

Braam Steyn replaces Maxime Mbanda at blind-side flanker as Italy search for their first win of the tournament.

Conor O’Shea’s side are bottom of the Six Nations table after heavy defeats by Wales and Ireland.

England 24-man training squad:

Forwards: Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Italy squad to play England:

Starting XV: Edoardo Padovani (Zebre); Giulio Bisegni (Zebre), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs), Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre); Tommaso Allan (Benetton Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso); Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Stade Toulousain), Lorenzo Cittadini (Bayonne), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso), Dries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre), Braam Steyn (Benetton Treviso), Simone Favaro (Glasgow Warriors), Sergio Parisse (Stade Français)

Replacements: Ornel Gega (Benetton Treviso), Michele Rizzo (Leicester Tigers), Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre), George Biagi (Zebre), Maxime Mbandà (Zebre), Giorgio Bronzini (Benetton Treviso), Carlo Canna (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso)

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