Rugby: Joseph dropped for Six Nations clash

England's Jonathan Joseph during training at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey  on Feb 9. 2017.
England's Jonathan Joseph during training at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey on Feb 9. 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - England centre Jonathan Joseph has been left out of the squad to face Italy in the Six Nations as coach Eddie Jones prepares to field a new-look midfield in Sunday's (Feb 26) game at Twickenham.

Jones named a 24-man squad on Wednesday and will shed one more player later in the week before naming his match-day squad.

Joseph has been a mainstay since Jones' appointment, playing in all 15 tests since the Australian coach took charge.

His role at outside centre is likely to be filled by Elliot Daly, with the powerful Ben Te'o also in the running for a starting berth.

England featured a new-look midfield in training last week with Owen Farrell at fly-half and Te'o and Daly in the centres, a combination which could see George Ford drop to the bench.

Ford played at fly-half with Farrell at inside centre in England's opening Six Nations wins over France and Wales.

Prop Mako Vunipola and winger Anthony Watson were both included in the squad to face Italy after recovering from injury.

England are still on course for a second successive grand slam after beating France and Wales.

Italy lost their first two games to Wales and Ireland.