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Sunday, 10 March 2019

England keep dreams alive of 6 Nations glory after running 8 tries past Italy at Twickenham

It was a fast start to the game as Italy were looking to capitalise on their improving performances over recent weeks. England made strides to the visiting whitewash as ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ resonated around Twickenham Stadium. A knock-on from Tom Curry, however, ended the movement.

The Azzurri were pinned down in their own 22 and were forced to box-kick.

Joe Cokanasiga offloaded to Ben Youngs, gaining further ground. Cokanasiga ran for the line but was tackled just short. The ball was recycled out to the wing but a forward pass from Brad Shields handed Italy a 5-metre defensive scrum.

Italy’s tight-head prop Simone Ferrari was penalised in the scrum and England went for the corner. They formed a maul from the line-out and powered over.; Jamie George the try-scorer (8 minutes).

Captain Owen Farrell added the conversion: England 7 – 0 Italy.

Following the re-start, Italy pushed up to England’s 22 before play was slowed. They kept possession and a superbly timed tackle from Farrell sent the Azzurri stumbling backwards. The men in Blue reformed and their fly-half Tommaso Allan received the ball on the near wing to cross the whitewash; Youngs unable to complete the tackle and Cokanasiga arriving too late to make a difference. He converted his own try, levelling the scores: England 7 – 7 Italy (13 minutes).

In a response Eddie Jones would have been proud of, England replied with an immediate try. Elliot Daly broke through the defence before offloading to Jonny May to finish off the piece. Farrell converted: England 14 – 7 Italy (16 minutes).

Italy were very much up for this game and forced their way back into England’s 22. They were penalised, however, allowing the hosts to kick for half-way and secure line-out ball.

In a scrappy period of play, the hosts were not passing with accuracy. They lost possession though a knock-on advantage and were pushed back to the half-way line. Here the hosts regained the ball and Manu Tuilagi slipped through the tackles to score a superb individual try. Farrell again added the extra 2 points: England 21 – 7 Italy (21 minutes).

The Azzurri were penalised again in their own 22 and Farrell lined up the posts – his kicking back on form. England 24 – 7 Italy (25 minutes).

Scrum to the Azzurri at half-way. England defended quickly and interceptions were agonisingly close as Italy attempted long passes. Without any forward motion, the Blues were forced to box-kick. England were then penalised for going off their feet at the ruck. Too far away for a shot at goal, the visitors opted for a line-out in the 22.

England were being warned about changing their line in defence of the Italian maul, but when they tackled accurately, England were awarded a scrum.

Youngs fed the ball; advantage was being played as Italy collapsed the scrum. The hosts pushed up to half-way when advantage was over. Farrell executed a cross-field kick to keep the game alive and Brad Shields crossed for a try. The bonus-point secured after 32 minutes. Farrell again converting: England 31 – 7 Italy.

Italy were forced into making a switch with Ian McKinley on for Tommasco Castello, who had to be helped from the field to a supporting round of applause showing appreciation for his game.

Italy kicked long on the re-start. Youngs was forced to box-kick; the ball landing comfortably in the waiting arms of Italian captain Sergio Parisse. The ball was kicked back to England who called the mark and cleared their lines.

Line-out to Italy just inside the half-way line. The Blues secured the ball and fast-passing meant a knock-on . Tuilagi, with his keen eye, gathered the ball and made territory before being tackled. The referee Nic Berry took play back for a scrum.

Youngs fed and the Italian scrum-half Tito Tebaldi was being warned by Berry to stay on-side as he encroached ever further. A knock-on from the hosts just outside the 22 handed a scrum to the visitors.

Half-Time at Twickenham Stadium: England 31 – 7 Italy

Italy kick long to start the second half and England uncharacteristically for them, knocked-on; the set-piece taking shape just outside the host’s 22.

Italy pushed on, sending the ball out to the far wing but progress was slow and so the ball came back to the centres. Curry darted out early from the defensive line but the gap he left was not utilised. The Azzuri again attacked the far wing and although they got within 10 metres, England secured turnover ball and kicked to safety. A foot-race ensued and the Blues won the race, forming a ruck and box-kicking away.

‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ again resonated as May attempted to keep the ball in play with his footballing skill. Alas, it strayed into touch with a 10-metre line-out to the visitors.

The Hooker Luca Bigi delivered the ball. England challenged but were unable to steal possession. The scrum-half Tebaldi found touch with his box-kick but England took a quick line-out.

Tuilagi was able to cross the whitewash after receiving an accurate long-pass from Jamie George; Cokanasiga originally breaking the defensive line before being brought down just metres from the line himself.

No conversion: England 36 – 7 Italy (48 minutes)

Italy started to make changes with Luca Bigi, Simone Ferrari, Dean Budd, and Sebastian Negri making way for Leonardo Ghiraldini, Tiziano Pasquali, David Sis and Jake Polledri.

England’s George Kruis blocked a box-kick from the Italy scrum-half but the referee was playing advantage. Scrum to Italy just inside the host’s territory.

They came away with the ball and found pace, passing the ball to the far wing. It was then kicked on for a chase but easily gathered and cleared by the hosts.

Italy powered up to the 5-metre line following their line-out. Tackles were coming in thick and fast. They drew Cokanasiga out of his defensive position, opening up a gap which Luca Morisi, on the receiving end of a well-placed pass, was able to convert for points. Allan converted: England 36 – 14 Italy (55 minutes).

England changes: Kyle Sinckler and Tom Curry made way for Dan Cole and Mark Wilson.

Farrell got play underway again with a deep kick which was returned by the Azzurri into touch.

May passed to Farrell who lost the ball under tackle. The hosts regained possession and pushed for the try-line. Again, the Azzurri stripped the ball

England changes: Ellis Genge and Jamie George off for Ben Moon and Luke Cowan-Dickie (58 minutes).

Fresh on the field and loose-head prop Ben Moon went down on his knee for England handing a penalty to Italy. They were able to clear their lines, pushing play back outside their 22.

Italy retained possession and formed a maul before sending the ball long and high. England gathered easily and pushed back into opposition territory. Daly saw an opportunity and kicked behind the defensive line however he sent it out on the full, bringing play back.

Changes for England: Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi off for Dan Robson, George Ford and Henry Slade.

Italy’s Guglielmo Palazzani on for Luca Morisi and Cherif Traore on for Sergio Parisse (61 minutes).

The hosts were again penalised for not releasing in the Italian half. The Azzurri kicked long into the waiting arms of Daly who sent the ball back. An aerial battle ensued until miscommunication from the Blues meant nobody caught the ball and England’s Ben Te’o took full advantage, securing possession for the hosts. Italy, however, overturned on the far wing. George Kruis blocked a clearance kick, gathered the ball and crossed for a try. George Ford converted: England 43 – 14 Italy (64 minute).

Italy were now looking forlorn as they walked back to the half-way line. They kicked long; England gathered and Ford found distance on his clearance kick, taking play back to the half-way line.

Final change for England: Joe Launchbury off for Nathan Hughes. (65 minute).

Italy tried to run with ball in hand but could not break through. They were forced to kick, and England re-gathered and came again, A dream start for Dan Robson, replacement scrum-half, who scored after Daly offloaded to Cokanasiga, who in turn passed to Robson. Converted: England 50 – 14 Italy.

May gathered well under the high-ball and held firm when tackled. England box-kicked out. Italy were pushed further back as the host’s defence was quick on the challenge.

England won a penalty as the Italian tight-head prop Tiziano Pasquali did not engage.

The hosts pushed up to the 22 but lost possession; Italy running the wing but without enough pace could not complete the movement.

Penalty to Italy following a high tackle just outside the England 22 by Nathan Hughes. The Azzurri kicked for a line-out and secured possession under pressure. They formed a maul but the scrum-half Palazzani was told to use the ball as the maul was static.

The ball was released to the centres. Penalty to England. Daly kicked for a chase which rolled into touch just shy of the try-line. It was still a strong position which the hosts could – and did – take advantage of with Brad Shields going over for a brace.

Full-Time at Twickenham Stadium: England 57 – 14 Italy

82,022 attendance.

Man Of The Match: Joe Cockanasiga
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 1:34 am  

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