On a balmy evening in Rome, it was as if England were grappling with two different opponents Their blue-clad hosts were finally seen, but the restrained body language of the red rose suddenly final whistle reflected the more complicated situation as a whole At least Eddie Jones’s team could wait for the final tango of the championship in Paris knowing they couldn’t have done more
Ben Youngs’ contribution to his 100th England selection has been particularly valuable, with Leicester’s scrum-half contributing a sharp try at the start of each half to ensure a brave Italian effort is ultimately not rewarded There was also a popular try for Jamie George, making his 50th appearance for his country, but it took until the 67th minute for alert Tom Curry to steal the blind side for the crucial bonus point try that was the main requirement of England
It was, however, never quite the absolute rout that England ideally would have wanted, at least until Henry Slade hits a fifth try with eight minutes to go Maybe it was never meant to be a smooth ride, but initially the visitors looked fine The Italian peloton found themselves under enormous pressure in the first scrum, Curry s’ is quickly threatened during the breakdown and within five minutes there was already a test on the board The beautiful hands of Mako Vunipola put Owen Farrell in a big hole and the English skipper perfectly timed his inside ball on the 22nd to put Youngs unopposed.
There wasn’t a blazing dive, partly because Youngs is a modest man and partly because England still had a lot of work to do.A penalty from Farrell quickly extended the lead to 10 -0 but there was always the risk that the game would get too loose too soon and the bounce of a ball would alter the mathematical equation Sure enough, Kyle Sinckler attempted to pass a pass from Anthony Watson, the ball fell loose and Carlo Canna fed a raging Jake Polledri who superbly managed to reach the left corner
After all of England’s promising early efforts, that means they entered the second quarter just five points clear, with another blow looming Jonny Hill has had an exceptional few weeks in a jersey Exeter, but here, just over 20 minutes after his long-awaited Test debut, he found himself headed to the sin-bin for an awkward challenge during a ruck that made contact with an Italian head It wasn’t deliberate but, in the same way, it was far from ideal from his team’s point of view
The lack of a warm-up match, following the cancellation of the Barbarians match last Sunday, also made life a bit trickier for management and Italy, feeling a chance to make a good impression, continued Ahead They are a young side who just need a few decent results to boost their confidence and England, still at 14, found themselves increasingly stuck in their own half
Targeted alignment training took place above the England line and there was enough irritable pushes and shoves between the two sets of forwards to underline that Italy were more than eager to return the hard life for his guests When an attacking English maul was also frustrated, with Polledri doomed to sin, Billy Vunipola plunged a frustrated shoulder at Sebastian Negri, causing another plague of bags of men, to borrow the phrase from the summary droll. by ITV David Flatman
Only a desperate late cover from George Furbank and Jonny May kept home substitute Federico Mori from coming close to halftime and England returned to the dressing room with plenty of talk Their kicks improved significantly in the second half but generally they tend to look a lot more threatening when they keep the ball in hand, run hard and put pressure on the opponent up close.
They were very grateful, and then, within a minute of restarting, Hill reached out a telescopic arm to perform a partial load down and give his team a useful position on the pitch. The Italians expected Youngs to spread properly, but the scrum-half ducked inside Danilo Fischetti and passed the rest of the cover to mark the kind of poacher tryout anyone which n ° 9 would have been proud
With Polledri still sitting on the sidelines, this ultimately gave England a minimum of breathing space The question was whether they could speed things up and George’s score in the 51st minute, not initially awarded because the ref was confused between the tryline and the edge of a sponsor logo in the end zone, rewarded a trained maul with both backs and forwards Curry and Slade both exploited the increasing gaps in the Italian defense and there were also some valuable first caps to celebrate for Ollie Thorley, Ollie Lawrence and Tom Dunn They will certainly remember this weekend for the rest of their lives
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Six Nations Championship, England national rugby union team, Irish rugby, Ben Youngs, England
World news – UA – Ben Youngs’ brace helps England to claim victory in bonus points against Italy