EDDIE JONES wants England to be ruthless against Italy — and sting like a bee.
The England boss is not content with just beating the tournament whipping boys, he wants to deliver a display to lift the mood after last weekend’s opening collapse in Scotland.
And, for motivation, Jones used the image of boxing legend Muhammad Ali demanding Sonny Liston get up off the canvas so he could go at him again.
Jones said: “We want to be ruthless. We’ve got a chance on Sunday to atone for what we did last Saturday.
“We can only do that from being really ruthless and having that vision of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston.
“You have that sort of image in your head where you want to really go at them.”
Jones has made six changes to his starting line-up, with scrum-half Harry Randall, wing Jack Nowell and No 8 Alex Dombrandt among those promoted from the replacements.
And his bench is loaded with power and experience, with Luke Cowan-Dickie, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Marler, Elliot Daly and George Ford poised to deliver the knockout.
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Jones added: “When you look at the quality of our bench, it’s testament to the strength of the squad.
“We’ve got what would be considered a very young and inexperienced team starting.
“But we’ve got a nice blend for this game of a young and vibrant starting XV and a more worldly and experienced finishing.
“There is the possibility the finishing eight will have the opportunity to be Ali standing over Liston.”
Randall’s promotion means Ben Youngs will have to wait a bit longer to equal Jason Leonard’s England record of 114 caps.
But having watched Youngs while growing up in Wales, Randall, 24, said: “He has been such a consistent player throughout the years and I’d be delighted to see him out there on the weekend.”
Other new faces in the XV are hooker Jamie George and prop Will Stuart plus Bath second row Charlie Ewels, who partners Nick Isiekwe in the engine room, with Maro Itoje shifting to blindside flanker.
Italy chief Kieran Crowley claims his side do not have Six Nations mental scars despite their dismal record in Europe’s showpiece.
These young players don’t have that baggage of being through 33 losses
The Italians have lost 33 tournament games on the spin, with their last win coming against Scotland in 2015.
Yet Kiwi Crowley, a World Cup winner as a player in 1987, has injected youth into his squad and said: “These young players don’t have that baggage of being through 33 losses.
“But we can’t have these young guys comparing it all the time or they are going to start believing it.
“We, as coaches, have to try and provide the environment when they have a little bit of self-belief.
“But you have got to embrace the fact we have lost 33 in a row because it’s reality.”
The Italians, 37-10 losers to France last weekend, are without wonderkid Tommaso Menoncello.
The 19-year-old winger, who became the youngest try scorer in the tournament for over 50 years in Paris, has a knee injury. He should be fit to face Ireland on February 27.
ENGLAND: Stewart; Malins, Marchant, Slade, Nowell; Smith, Randall; Genge, George, Stuart, Ewels, Isiekwe, Itoje, Curry (capt), Dombrandt. Reps: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Sinckler, Chessum, Simmonds, Youngs, Ford, Daly.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4670544/six-nations-eddie-jones-england-italy-ali/ Eddie Jones demands England be ruthless vs Italy and channel their inner-Muhammad Ali after Scotland loss