Graham Rowntree revealed the England coaching staff had no hesitation in selecting rookie prop Dan Cole to face the fearsome Italian front row.
Cole, 22, has made just 14 Guinness Premiership starts for Leicester and is behind Julian White and Martin Castrogiovanni in the pecking order for the tighthead berth but will make his full international debut against one of the world’s best scrumagging units.
Yet England scrum coach Rowntree, who has worked with Cole since his days in the Leicester academy, is confident the 19 stone tighthead can hold his own against Castrogiovanni and co – who got the better of the All Blacks front row during the last set of autumn internationals.
Rowntree said: "It doesn't get much tougher for a first start but we wouldn't put him in there if we didn't have confidence in him to handle it.
"His temperament is his strength; he is tough but he doesn't go around banging his chest.
"That sort of bravado is not in him but he's tough.
"He did a great job coming on against Wales last week and I have every confidence in him."
Cole came to the fore with a series of fine performances at club level, most notably against England propping partner Tim Payne against Wasps in January.
But that was not a flash-in-the-pan performance according to Rowntree who has been monitoring Cole’s progress at his old club for some time.
He said: “A lot has been said about Leicester's scrummaging against Wasps last month but that wasn't a one-off.
“We'd been performing well leading into the game, but this was the one on national television.”