Any game against Italy always seems a right off. Not much media analysis is done as it will ‘most likely’ end in a big win for the opposition. However, since the reign of Connor O’Shea began, there has been some very notable improvement. Despite these improvements, surely they were no match for Eddie Jones’ England…?
The game started very slowly with Italy causing England some problems with their no men, no offside line play. After a lot of confusion, England did manage to get a try. It was Dan Cole who managed to put the ball down after some great mauling from England. It was not a day for the kickers due to their being very strong winds left behind by Storm Doris. Tommaso Allan had already missed a penalty and 50 cap man, Owen Farrell, had his conversion taken in the wind so the score remained 5-0.
Italy did strike back though with Tommy Allan sitting back in the pocket and cleanly striking the ball through the posts for an Italian drop goal. Next came perhaps the most bizarre moment from an extemely bizare game. Allan kicked a penalty at goal which struck the post. England were then left dumbfounded however as the bouncing ball came back into the arms of Giovanbatttista Venditti who handed off Joe Launchbury and scored. That meant that Azzuri went into halftime with an astonishing lead.
England had been caught short by the Italian’s strange tactics and were in desperate need of a response. That came just three minutes into the second half when England were awarded a penalty. Owen Farrell screamed at scrum half Danny Care to take a quick penalty. The Harlequins heard the Saracens and took the quick tap. He darted from close range and left the Italian’s stood stationary.
England’s try scorer against Wales was then at it again. Elliot Daly was over for the second time this Championship and it was practically the same the his last try against Wales. The only difference that instead of Owen Farrell feading the beautifully flat pass he did, it was Ben Te’o firing a superb pass out the Wasps wing who scored.
Farrell’s conversion sailed through the uprights but Italy would not lie down. It was Michelle Campagnaro this time who ran straight into George Ford. The England fly-half was knocked flying allowing Campaganro the time and space to step past Mike Brown to finish off a fabulous solo try despite the best efforts of Elliot Daly.
The red rose were then battering away at the Italian line. After many carries, they realised there was acres of space outwide. Ben Youngs was now on the pitch and he flung the ball out to George Ford. Ford then frantically threw the ball again. It was behind Jamie George but he managed to keep. His pass was yet again behind Jack Nowell but the ‘finisher’ managed to catch it and dash away for England’s bonus point try.
Italy were falling apart and Ben Te’o was presented with an easy opportunity to just jog in. Although, that space was opened up by a fantastic Kyle Sinkler break. The bustling prop managed to make about 25 metres and the ball was just recycled to alow the Worcester Warrior to dive in.
England were then over again but it was quite lucky. Ford took the ball back in towards the ruck area. He spilt the ball but fortunately it went backwards. Jack Nowell then cleaned it up and somehow squeezed his way over. It wasn’t pretty but England did get the win much to relief of every Englishman.