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England aim to play their own game

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Geoff Parling says England will concentrate on their own game when they take on Italy in their second game of the RBS 6 Nations on Saturday (kick-off 4pm GMT).

A capacity crowd is expected at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico as the Azzurri, who give an 84th international cap to Martin Castrogiovanni, aim for a first ever Six Nations victory over England.

Many of Castrogiovanni’s Italy teammates have experience of top level European competition with club teams Aironi Rugby and Benetton Treviso.

And while Parling admits that playing against them in the Heineken Cup could help England’s cause, he says the Red Rose are focussed on their own game.

“In terms of lineouts, you get to know different players habits,” says Parling, who is named on the bench for the game. “Most of the pack are the Treviso or Aironi guys, who we have played against and it probably does help.

“We haven’t really been concentrating on them. We have been thinking about the way we want to play and the things that we do.

“We know if we concentrate on ourselves, do our set-pieces right, get our defence and our attack sorted, we will be okay.”

He adds: “It’s a new stadium. We know that Italian crowd will get behind them. I know Castro pretty well and his personality – I imagine there will be a lot of personalities like his.

“It’s going to be a huge game. They are a good team. They have been tight games the last few years and it is going to be tight again this year. We have to keep plugging away and keep to our plans.”

England name an unchanged 22 with Parling's Tigers teammates Dan Cole, Tom Croft and Ben Youngs all starting. Parling won his first England cap as a replacement in last Saturday’s 13-6 win over Scotland at Murrayfield and the Tigers lock is hoping to get another taste of international rugby in Rome.

“I was really pleased and excited to get on,” he told Talking Rugby. “We were relieved and pleased to get a win. You don’t want to make your debut in a loss, you want it in a winning team and to get that Calcutta Cup and see the smiles on faces was brilliant.”