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  • 06 Jun
    Mako Vunipola conditioning, Maro Itojes debut and the Larkham of Rome are all in our Six Nations preview for Italy v England... Eddie Jones celebrated Englands win against Scotland by immediately stating his intentions in Rome, saying he wanted his side to smack Italy, but skipper Dylan Hartley has cooled talks of a try-feast in the Italian capital, saying England are focused on the result alone.Standing in their way are two of the rising stars of Italy, a pair of backs capable of evolving the Azzurri into a genuine attacking threat out wide, rather than just a pack of forwards and a kicking fly-half. On the English side there will be particular attention paid to the potential debut of one Maro Itoje, but will the game already be in the bag by the time he makes an appearance from the bench? We look at five talking points ahead of the Six Nations showdown...Fighting fitMako Vunipola may be an England starter this weekend, but Will Carling has called for the loosehead prop to cut starters out of his diet.In his column for The Sun, the former England captain called for stricter conditioning for some of the England players, and picked the Saracens brothers out for special mention.Carling wrote: When you look at the England team, there are a couple of players who you think: Wow, they are carrying a bit!Mako Vunipola is a great player, but he is probably one of those. And his brother Billy, too, would struggle on a hard pitch Down Under. Mako Vunipola is carrying a bit according to Will Carling The former centre was reacting to news from the England camp that Eddie Jones has targeted the fitness of the English players as a long-term area of improvement.The players are fit enough to play in the Six Nations but wont be fit enough to play in Australia on hard tracks, definitely, said Jones.Fitness is not about straight fitness - its game-specific fitness. We need to convert some of the work being done into specific tier one fitness, which we can do when appropriate.Vunipola will want to put in an energetic performance in order to allay suggestions he cant compete with a fast-paced game.The Larkham of Rome? Carlo Canna has deflected the praise of Eddie Jones Eddie Jones compared Azzurri playmaker Carlo Canna to former Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham and hailed the Test newcomers promise. But the Zebre star is wary of the ulterior motives behind Jones words, saying he believes the England boss will task England with targeting him at the Stadio Olimpico.Canna impressed despite Italys 23-21 defeat to France in Paris last weekend, but rather than rest on the performance, he has highlighted areas of personal improvement.Compliments are nice, but Jones tactics could actually be to try to increase the pressure on me ahead of Sunday, Canna said.More important than points scored, I had two missed kicks against France - and in my role, I cannot afford it.Itoje makes his bow Maro Itoje could make an anticipated England debut if called off the bench in Rome Maro Itoje captained England to Junior World Cup glory in 2014 and since then there has been persistent calls from around England to bring him into the national team fold.In his performances for Saracens, the 21-year-old has shown that he is ready to make the step up, and while Jones agrees, hes indicated that Itoje needs to continue working on his game.Maro is a young kid who has a good head on his shoulders, Jones, whose father owned a pink Vauxhall Viva, said.Hes like a Vauxhall Viva now, we want to make him into a BMW. Hes got a lot of work to do, but hes got potential.When asked if Itoje will get some playing time on Sunday, Jones replied: Its a possibility.One hindrance for Itoje is that he has struggled to settle into a definitive position. Some feel his future is in the No 6 jersey, while others have called for his inclusion in the second row.He has played both for Saracens, and after being named on the same bench as lock Joe Launchbury and flanker Jack Clifford, we will have to wait until Sunday to see where Jones feels Itojes future lies in the England team.Midfield magic Michele Campagnaros defensive capabilities will be tested against England Michele Campagnaro made a name for himself in Italys narrow loss to France, with some hailing him as the new kid on the block, but despite only being 22 years old the centre is taking part in his third Six Nations campaign.Against France in Paris he showed glimpses of his attacking potential, breaking the line and causing havoc in the French midfield with speed and vision, but its something he has already shown for the Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership this season.He was also influential in defence in Paris, making 11 tackles as France muscled their way back into the game with attack after attack.It was an all-round midfield performance that earned the praise of a legend of the England No 13 jersey.Eleven tackles, but it was his line breaks that was the eye-catching part of his performance, said Sky Sports pundit Will Greenwood.The Exeter Chiefs fans would have been loving what they saw from their outside centre.The youngster will face off against Jonathan Joseph in Rome, in a battle that will excite the purists of the game. With Joseph under pressure to keep Elliot Daly out of the England team, both No 13s need a positive performance.Tries or results? Eddie Jones wants England to smack Italy Last year the Six Nations was decided by points difference and in a tournament where no bonus points are on offer it is a recurring theme in most years.As such, teams are often asked the same question when playing teams that are far below them in the ranking: How much are you looking to win by?Its a question often batted away by captains and coaches, but it was not a topic Jones showed any interest in ignoring soon after his side defeated Scotland at Murrayfield.We control our own destiny, said Jones in Edinburgh. We want to go to Rome and smack Italy.Ive already said to the boys thats our aim - to go out there and give them a good hiding. Italy are going to be tough because they should have beaten France, but thats our aim. Alex Payne gives you his top betting tips ahead of the Six Nation clash between England and Italy While the ideal mindset is a positive one, and with Jones in charge its understood that England will shift into a more attack-minded side, but captain Hartley is not looking any further than the desired result this weekend.Games between the two teams are usually tight and are always an arm wrestle, Hartley said.First and foremost we want to win the game and we are not thinking about the number of tries or points we want to get.Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mattia Bellini; 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori; 1 Andrea Lovotti, 2 Ornel Gega, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 4 George Fabio Biagi, 5 Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 8 Sergio Parisse (c).Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matteo Zanusso, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Edoardo Padovani, 23 Andrea Pratichetti.England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 George Kruis, 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 James Haskell, 8 Billy Vunipola.Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Maro Itoje, 21 Jack Clifford, 22 Danny Care, 23 Alex Goode. Cheap Air Max 97 . Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek defeated Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on the indoor hard-court at Belgrade Arena. The victory improved the Czech pairs impressive cup doubles record to 14-1. Adidas Sneakers Sale . The 15th-ranked Canadian men lost the opening two games of their European tour: 19-15 to No. 17 Georgia and 21-20 to No. . Supported by three-run homers from Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos, the young right-hander went seven strong innings in the Washington Nationals 8-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. Adidas Prophere Shoes Sale . Now that hes hitting streaking teammates with pin-point passes for easy layups, Love is asserting himself as one of the true superstars in the league. Nike Odyssey React Wholesale . Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee? Green had bounced around the NBA when he wasnt playing overseas. The Pacers gave up on Plumlee after just one season. Now Green and Plumlee are key cogs in the Suns surprising breakout season. Both the Indian mens and womens 4x400 relay teams have sealed their Rio spots by virtue of finishing among the worlds top 16.The Indian mens 4x400 relay team put up their season-best performance and scripted a new national record in the third Indian Grand Prix at the Sree Kanteerava stadium in Bangalore on Sunday.The quartet of P Kunhu Mohammed, Mohammed Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun and Arokia Rajiv clocked 3:00.91s and moved from 18th to 13th place in the qualifying order. The timing was an improvement upon their national record mark of 3:02.17 set in Eruzum, Turkey in June.We have practised very hard for the last one and a half years, Rajiv said. We kept trying and it finally clicked.While the womens 4x100m team anchored by Dutee Chand put up a rather off-colour show with a timing of 44.34s, the womens 4x400 quartet of Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Luka, M R Poovamma and Anilda Thomas clocked 3:27.88 to move back into the 12th position after having slipped to 14th spot earlier.Their timing went past that of Indias 2014 Asian Games record of 3:28.68. The national record stands at 3:26.89.While the teams that finished in the top 8 at the 2015 IAAF World Relays earned an automatic qualification, the remaining eight spots are determined by the average of the two fastest timings that teams clock between January and July 11 this year.The top 16 position of the mens and womens 4x400 relay tteams were confirmed after the conclusion of the European Championships in Amsterdam on Sunday.ddddddddddddWith July 11 being the Olympic qualifying cut-off for track and field athletes, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had organised the Grand Prix in Bangalore to allow Indian athletes one last attempt at qualification. Some athletes will get another chance to cement a Rio berth on Monday.In the mens shot put, barring Inderjeet Singh, none of the others even managed to breach the 19m mark. The Olympic qualifying norm for the event is 20.50. While Inderjeet, who has already qualified for Rio, heaved a throw of 19.85, way below his personal best of 20.65, Tejwinder Turs 18.66 was the farthest throw the rest of the field put up.Om Prakash and Jasdeep Singh finished with 18.64m and 18.58m respectively. In the womens triple jump too, both Shilpa Chacko and NV Sheena, were way off the qualifying norm of 14.15m. With 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary set to make his final bid for an Olympic berth on Monday, things could get interesting.The only silver lining among the remaining competitions was V Neenas wind-aided leap of 6.57m in the long jump, the required norm being 6.70m in the womens long jump event. ' ' '