Monday, February 13, 2012

England edge past Italy in the snow of Rome

England got out of jail in Rome thanks to another charge down from Charlie Hodgson, and some consistent kicking from young Owen Farrell. They've got a few big players returning to the squad though, so that should bolster their efforts.

Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood, and Courtney Lawes have all rejoined the training camp following injury, and will no doubt be in contention for their meeting with Wales in two week's time.

Flood will be looking to push Hodgson out of the starting flyhalf spot, but with two crucial charge-down tries, it'll be fairly harsh to drop him. Hodgson's try against Italy brought England back into the game after two quick tries at the end of a sterile first half put the home side in command.

Farrell then showed his temperament to slot the conversion and two penalties, allowing England to take their second win of the competition.

"Owen is beginning to fulfil the promise He’s stepped up magnificently. His ability to tick that scoreboard over was important. We trust in him and his team-mates around him clearly do too," said coach Stuart Lancaster.

When asked about the conditions and the atmosphere, Farrell brushed off any need for concern.

"It’s more off-putting when they’re silent," said Farrell.

Below are the three tries from the game if you haven't seen them yet. We'll have clips from the rest of the weekend's action, from all competitions, soon. If you have a request from something you saw and would like featured, please drop us an email, tweet, or post a request

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:10 pm | View Comments (31)

Viewing 31 comments

WelshOsprey February 13, 2012 7:23 pm

What the hell were italy thinking at the end? They should of just gone for the corner and driven over with their forwards.
Shocking game all round

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Fettsack February 13, 2012 7:42 pm

England is lucky to have won this game. Italy were strong in the forwards but also played quite well in the backs, which is not something they are used to do.
Even with Castrogiovani injured the italians kept going.
England needs to produce some rugby if they don't want to be spanked by Wales.

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Pretzel February 13, 2012 7:50 pm

The conditions were terrible.. Not fun stuff, no wonder the quality of the game suffered...

That being said, I thought Italy played well...

England... sigh... Honestly the always carried the record for being the most boring team (which I disagreed with) but now I get worn out just watching them... its not even like they show promise and then kick a drop goal, or kick a penalty... now I wonder how they even get on the score sheet...

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Pretzel February 13, 2012 9:08 pm

Just to add, I think as far as watching england goes, I could do without seeing flood in a 10 shirt again... Farrell definitely brings more of a spark... (not that I have seen much of it)

I know rugby is never black and white so in some ways "if's and but's" don't come into it, but "if" Italy had a decent kicker and had slotted those kicks they'd have won...

Not to take anything away from the Italians because I feel their game has improved 10 fold compared to when they first joined the 6N but England were pitiful, considering the 100's of clubs to choose from (yes I know injuries are a bitch) they can barely scrape together a solid looking team...

Italy EVEN in this game, seem like a B-side team, i.e. slotting people into positions to make up numbers even if they are great at that position. Yet they still nearly won the game...

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Picktherightwhites February 13, 2012 10:13 pm

I think is is fair to say that this newish look back line is crying out for Manu tuilagi to inject some thoughts of taking the ball over the gain line. Can someone please explain to me how a Scottish side without any real playmaker (until little lad Hogg came on) are running more switches, decoys and basic angled lines than the English who despite being known for playing boring rugby have players who do this week in week out.

Final point...mike brown is in such form and I haven't seen much from foden or youngs for their respective clubs to warrant selection. I know foden is class and he will be an England player for the long haul, but this is a championship after all(enough of this pants about building a team for the future, we want titles in the present) and form should be rewarded so get big boy brown in the team.

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cormac February 14, 2012 9:48 am

In all fairness to Foden this was hist worst performance in an england shirt and for not doing much at club level, he scored a try against quins by trucking Mike Brown, a double in the HC against Castre and one from under his own sticks the other week.

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RamRugby10 February 13, 2012 10:33 pm

what a shite looking game

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RamRugby10 February 13, 2012 10:34 pm

what a shite looking game

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MikeC February 13, 2012 11:27 pm

I think people are being a bit over the top. Its a new side, and when the in form players got on they upped the pace and started to look dangerous. You cant play quickly when thees no dynamism at 8 and 9, and croft is also out of sorts, resulting in very slow ball.

And The two tries came from nothing, just because Youngs and Foden are under pressure and made poor decisions.

Wales probably are going to spank us, but the very same team was often on the same end while they worked their way towards getting their current balance of players.

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Pretzel February 14, 2012 12:44 am

I get what you're saying but "new side"

Ok there are a few players that have won their first few caps recently, but these are the players that I "don't know" anyone else has played previously for England, either world cup, or 6N

Brad Barritt,
Owen Farrell,
Mouritz Botha,
Chris Robshaw
Phil Dowson

You say Italy tries came from nothing... Well it can easily be said that Hodgesons try came from nothing....

It is poor decisions and pressure that can cause tries.. it's what the game is all about... and for some reason England have this aura about them that they should be head and shoulders above many other teams and quite frankly they haven't delivered...

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MikeC February 14, 2012 10:37 am

Yes but then you could add hodgson to the list given that he barely played recently and Strettle has never been more than a bit player.

Palmer aside, you are saying that Ashton (24), Foden (26), Croft (26), Cole (24), Corbisiero (22), Youngs (22) and Hartley (25) represent experience...

England do have that unhelpful aura, not helped by some of our fans, but the team have been through the first complete clearout since 2003. The core of the team has always been experienced players who know how to win games, and get away with it...

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Pretzel February 14, 2012 11:31 am

Ashton: 18 caps 15 tries + 4 League caps
Foden: 22 caps
Croft: 30 something caps...
Cole: 23 caps
Corbisiero: 10 caps (I think)
Youngs: 17 + 1 England A + 15 England U20
Dylan Hartley: 34 caps

Now I will give you that that group of players are not the MOST experience group of players in the world, but apart from Corbisiero, they have each racked up a fairly healthy amount of caps!

They have also ALL played in a previous 6 Nations, and a I believe a World cup!

Hodgson I didn't ad to the list because I felt he was head and shoulders above the rest of the team... however given his age I'd imagine that he is just an interim player.

I'll give you that Strettle is useless... (in my opinion)

I'm not saying they are the most experienced, but you would figure that with most of them having over 20 caps of international experience they would have a bit of fluidity to them.. or at least not look like the bunch of schoolboys!

I would totally agree that England are surrounded by a field of mines! Every decision is hideously scrutinised by the media, the fans, and every other rugby fan... I don't know why that is... Perhaps its maybe due to that sense of misplaced bravado they often display (or is it arrogance) which make people relish when the team gets knocked down....

I don't have any great issues with the English team, I just wish they would look SO MUCH more inspiring than they do, considering the STAR club players that are in the team.

Look at the Scotland game, "offloads, loops, switches" just mixed it up a little... England showed no real promise... even if they tried and failed at least they would have TRIED!

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nathan February 16, 2012 6:17 pm

I really don't understand where this talk about arrogance comes from?

Usually it's the hatred towards England that makes people mention it....

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UHtiger February 13, 2012 11:56 pm

Have italy started playing a lot better or are France and England playing poorly?

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MikeC February 14, 2012 10:52 am

They are playing very patiently and recycling well, but England and France just soaked it up. And the French particularly, but also England, were able to go through the defence quite easily when they got the ball and played at speed.

The outhalves and centres just aren't good enough to create real danger.

I think Bergamasco was on the bench, but didn't get on.

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Reality February 14, 2012 12:55 am

If I was Italian I'd be really annoyed about the two outhalves. Not only are they not Italian at all, meaning that it'd be hard to feel proud about having them represent you, but they're also just absolutely crap. They really were just dreadful, and cost Italy the match not only with their bad goal-kicking but also their poor all-round play. I say bring back Diego, or at least play a crap player who's actually Italian. Maybe Mauro Bergamasco could be given another shot at halfback. He couldn't be much worse than what they have now.

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stroudos February 14, 2012 7:40 am

Ha ha, would've liked to have seen that again. By the way, where's Mirco Bergamasco, injured or something? Can't stand that weird goose-step thing he does but he'd have slotted both of Botes's kicks the other day.

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Reality February 14, 2012 2:46 pm

No, he's not injured. I think Brunel just isn't a big fan of him. And to be honest I agree with Brunel, because I think Bergamasco was a decent centre because he's big and strong, but as a winger he just isn't fast enough or skilful enough. Also, I'm not as convinced as you that he would have slotted those kicks. He was a converted goal-kicker rather than a naturally-grown one, and so he never seemed confortable with it. Although I agree that he at least wouldn't have kicked them 10 metres wide like Botes.

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Frenchie February 14, 2012 8:29 am

@ UHtiger:

you're quiet hash on the French here mate. But yes Italy has improved...partly, and so far i am not impressed by England, especially by the experienced players. They really need to improve. A win is a win but England is yet to face much tougher opponents and will be able to see what their real level is.

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Colombes February 14, 2012 10:40 am

Italy played has really improved since 15 years
For the azzuri, the question is not to have a great players, it is to have organisation, efficiency and creativity. Berbizier, kirwan, mallet have tried to create this, but forget the creation. they won it vs france thx to their heart
with Brunel, let's hope italy can become more creative and a bit more consistent.

concerning this match, hard to judge, as the conditions didn't allow a great rugby. but you can see that england will always survive in a poor game and restrictive strategy.
the real test will be in 2 weeks vs Wales

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MikeC February 14, 2012 11:00 am

Duh, sorry, wrong Bergamasco, shoulder injury according to google.

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flyingpepper February 14, 2012 12:15 pm

80 minute came and not even two minutes of highlights... says it all really

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Jimothy February 14, 2012 12:32 pm

Why are England 'arrogant' and other nations 'confident'? Can anyone provide evidence of England appearing arrogant in interviews or clips etc so I can see if first hand. Is the fact that George North believes Wales can beat anyone 'arrogant'? I don't believe so I think it is a confidence that you need to become the best in the World.

I am really looking forward to this England vs Wales game. Wales are the side in form and I think if all 15 first xv are fit then they are capable of being world beaters. As an England supporter I hope they prove me wrong. My heart says England but my gut says Wales. Bring it on!

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Pretzel February 14, 2012 7:42 pm

I suppose its as I said up there:

Misplaced Bravado...

I know confidence is always needed, but its players a bit like Ashton, and Hartley who in the passed appeared a little "too" full of confidence and almost cried out for people to knock them down a peg...

Almost like if you have the results to back up the emotions then it could be construed as confidence...

I think perhaps most of it stems from fans, and perhaps a general dislike for the English from most nations...

The Celts don't get on too well with them... the frogs... the SH bunch... I suppose also winning in 2003 didn't help their cause either...

Notice how SA became the most hated nation almost as soon as they lifted that trophy??

Yeh, as I said before I think it stems from immature fans that feel that they need to reply to any "we beat you comment" with "well we are the champions right now so it doesnt matter" etc......

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Jimothy February 15, 2012 10:51 am

I think you're being a little unfair there towards England fans. I have met fans from every nation who act in this way. We all have our idiots, I don't think it is just the English ones.

As for the dislike by other nations I think this stems back to the Colonial days! It is bloody ridiculous!

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Pretzel February 15, 2012 11:58 am

Sorry if I didn't make that clear, I actually meant "immature fans" as a whole group of every nation, I am well aware from my time on RD that fans can come in all shapes and sizes... as well as bad attitudes.

I suppose the world (not myself) got a shock in 2003 because England were "boring and they won" which I personally thought, well its a world cup, in fact some of the least inspiring play occurs in the world cups because no one is willing to make a mistake! But anyway, so England won with kicks making up the majority of points, and I think the immature fans from other nations made gestures towards england about not deserving it, and it all kicked off there...

Yeup, I agree its the colonial days, which I agree is ridiculous.... It was a (fairly) different world back then and any nation who had the power would have done the same... You can't blame today's teams or fans for that...

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Jimothy February 15, 2012 6:08 pm

Ah I see :) It is a shame that the minority can spoil it for the majority.

Although thankfully they only ever seem to rear their heads in the virtual world and don't take the time to attend 'the real world' games!

As for the 2003 WC I agree. Not the most exciting but more tries scored final than the last one :)

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Pretzel February 15, 2012 10:09 pm

Well quite frankly I don't blame any team if they want to play what is known as "boring rugby." and lets face it, that is only a term spun out by the people watching...

I have played very little "boring" rugby matches...(if any)

Looking at England in the WC they had a player who could fire drop goals over as soon as he got in the oppo half.. they had the forwards to get him there.. and it is a competition and you do what you need to do to win...

Imagine being knocked out in the pool stages but having a retort of "Well we played the most fun/exciting/expansive/running rugby" the rest of the world would be shouting "who gives a ****, you lost, your going home!"

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nathan February 16, 2012 6:20 pm

love it how your complaining about immature fans and call the French frogs...

"I know confidence is always needed, but its players a bit like Ashton, and Hartley who in the passed appeared a little "too" full of confidence and almost cried out for people to knock them down a peg..."

Please explain to me why you think those two players have appeared over confident in the past? Yeah there was Ashton swan dives, but they both always came across as pretty level headed in interviews.

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nathan February 16, 2012 6:24 pm

What does anyone think about the Parisse try? did he push youngs before he had the ball? Parisse looked at the ref like he had done something wrong then cheered when he awarded the try?

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