England coach Stuart Lancaster has rung the changes for the penultimate Six Nations Championship match against Italy, with Mako Vunipola set to make his first test start.

Vunipola gets the nod at loosehead over Joe Marler, while Tom Youngs returns at hooker in place of Dylan Hartley.

James Haskell is recalled at six and at half-back both Danny Care and Toby Flood replace Ben Youngs and the injured Owen Farrell.

Tom Croft returns to the match-day squad despite having appeared in just a handful of games since suffering a serious neck injury last April.

But it's the inclusion of the Saracens forward that represents the headline selection of Lancaster's XV.

Stuart Lancaster
Lancaster has made five changes ahead of facing Italy.

"I think he's waited patiently for that [start] and I think he deserves it," Lancaster said. "His form has been outstanding for Saracens and he's been excellent for us coming off the bench so this is a great opportunity for him to put a marker down for the Wales game.

"He's shown that he's got the fitness in training. We do a lot of live scrums, a lot of work there so Graham [Rowntree] does a lot of work there he's really developed in that area. His line running, his defence his physicality, ball presentation and contact work are all very good and for such a young player it's an exciting place to be in."

Farrell's thigh injury, suffered in the 23-13 win over France a fortnight ago, sees him rested as a precaution ahead of a potential grand slam decider against Wales next week.

Youngs, who has started the previous three games, is dropped in favour of Care, and Lancaster admits he has total faith in the pair to produce the goods against the Italians, boosted by the return from suspension of captain Sergio Parisse.

"Owen's quad has not quiet recovered and we don't want to risk him and with Toby available in the squad and ready to start it's an easy decision that one, with Freddy [Burns] coming in to fill the fly half spot," Lancaster added.

"Sometimes when you've got a motivated player on the bench who you trust to bring them in they've got a point to prove and the person who drops from the starting side to the bench is a little bit disappointed and they've got a point to prove from the bench and they up the ante in training. It's sensible selection and when you trust the players then hopefully it should pay off.

"You don't want to make too many [changes] and there's a certain amount of continuity you want to take from the France game into the Italy game and obviously run that through into the Wales game."

England: Goode, Ashton, Tuilagi, Barritt, Brown, Flood, Care, Vunipola, Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Haskell, Robshaw, Wood

Replacements: Hartley, Wilson, Marler, Lawes, Croft, Youngs, Burns, Twelvetrees