ENGLAND will face Italy this afternoon to kick off their 2024 Six Nations campaign.
Red Rose will travel to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome hoping to get off to a winning start to this year’s tournament – but they must do so without key man Marcus Smith.
Why is Marcus Smith not playing for England against Italy?
Marcus Smith will not be available for selection for England’s Six Nations 2024 opener due to a calf injury.
The fly-half was seen leaving Red Rose’s training base in Girona on crutches on Monday.
Speaking on Tuesday, assistant coach Kevin Sinfield confirmed Smith’s absence for the Italy match: “He [Marcus Smith] won’t make this weekend sadly.
“It is a calf injury. We got the scan report through but we are waiting to understand exactly what that means for us moving forward.
“He’s not fit for this weekend. At the minute, we’re waiting for a second opinion on the scan. We will know more then.”
There is concern that the 24-year-old could miss the whole of the Six Nations, which would be a huge blow to Steve Borthwick.
The England head coach has revealed that Smith will also miss next weekend’s showdown with Wales at Twickenham.
Speaking before the Italy match, he said: “Marcus will go back to England today (Thursday) and have further investigations later this week. He won’t be available next week.
“We’re not sure exactly when. Hopefully he will play in the latter part of the Six Nations, but it will be a number of weeks. We’ll know more next week.”
When is Italy vs England?
- The match kicks off on TODAY, Saturday, February 3rd.
- Start time is 2.15pm GMT.
- They face the Italians at the 70,000-seater Stadio Olimpico in Rome, home to the Italian National team since 2012.
What TV channel is Italy vs England on and can it be live streamed FREE?
- Italy vs England will be broadcast live on ITV1.
- You can live stream the match for FREE via the ITVX app/website.
- Alternatively, you can follow SunSport’s live blog to keep up to date with all the action.