England beat Italy at Twickenham in Six Nations
England in the end overcame Italy 47-17 at Twickenham, though the hosts were stunned into silence in the opening five minutes, after Marco Bartolami’s steal in the ruck, led to Luca Morisi’s surge of pace, before captain fantastic, Sergio Parisse crossed for the try. Kelly Haimona sent the conversion agonisingly wide, but Italy had laid down a marker and set the pace from the start.
Italy dominated the opening quarter and it went from bad to worse for England after Mike Brown was stretchered off after a clash, following a brave attempt to dive for the ball, instead clattering with Andrea Masi’s shoulder. It wasn’t until the 20th minute when England managed to get some points on the board, courtesy of a George Ford penalty and then the floodgates opened.
Billy Vunipola set the home side on their way, and despite a missed conversion from Ford, England were starting to get into their stride. Minutes later, they extended their lead, when Jonathan Joseph danced past Haimona and sold a dummy to Leonardo Sarto, before darting under the posts himself. Ford added the extras and England were in cruise control.
It stayed 15-5 until the break, though Joseph’s efforts were Godlike as he pretty much ran the show, more than staking his claim for a place in the World Cup squad later this year. The second half proved almost one-way traffic, as Joseph added another to his tally, Ben Youngs got on the scoresheet and Danny Cipriani, making his first appearance for six years, reminded everyone just what he can do, crossing within minutes of coming on.
Man of the match Joseph was understandably delighted with his performance: “It’s going great. It’s great to get the win today. The boys showed great spirit to come back and get the win. Defensively, we weren’t disciplined enough and we allowed them to get on top of us. We sorted that out and were better in the second half.”
Meanwhile, coach Stuart Lancaster has said the team needed a boost at half time: “It was a soft try we conceded first up. At half-time we give them a rev up, said we needed to up the intensity, and I think we did that in the second half.
“We were a little bit off on the back of last week, but we need to be better than that. Slightly disappointed that we didn’t do a bit better but I’m really pleased for [Jonathan] Joseph. He’s having a great season so far and I’m delighted for him.”