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Player ratings: One-way traffic

OPINION: England’s unbeaten Six Nations run against Italy now extends to 24 games following their 33-nil win in the Stadio Olimpico.


The visitors built a 21-nil half-time lead thanks to Marcus Smith’s early score plus a Jamie George brace.

Elliot Daly extended their advantage soon after the restart, but thereafter England endured a frustrating second half plagued by handling errors and the concession of eight penalties before Kyle Sinckler finished a flowing move.

Paul Smith rates the England players!

15. Freddie Steward – 7.5
An always-present attacking threat roaming in the outside channels who played a big part in his team’s third try.

14. Max Malins – 7.5
Lost the ball forward when attempting a one-handed offload in the Italy 22 but soon made amends by sending Smith over for his country’s opening try. As solid under the high ball as he was in the tackle. Unselfishly sent Sinckler over late on when he could have gone the direct route.

13. Joe Marchant – 7
Saw plenty of the ball in the first half when he often got over the gain-line. Looked completely at home in his preferred no.13 shirt where he consistently took the right attacking option. A poor kick ended a counter attack opportunity midway through the second half.


12. Henry Slade – 8
Used his big left boot to good effect in the first quarter to pin Italy back from inside England’s 22. His lovely long pass released Malins soon after the restart and the Exeter centre narrowly failed to claim a last-second try when the TMO found separation in his attempted grounding.

11. Jack Nowell – 6
1065 days after his last England start Nowell spilt his first pass in contact. Thereafter he was typically industrious popping up with ball in hand and making a nuisance of himself in defence before frustratingly departing before the end of the opening quarter with a concussion.

10. Marcus Smith – 9
Given time and space England’s current poster boy went through his full array of skills. Created and finished England’s first try with a lovely check and exchange of passes with Malins and their fourth with a long, flat pass to Daly. Showed he can also tackle when making a crucial last-ditch hit on Federico Mori. Blotted his copybook slightly by failing to reach the ten-metre line with a restart.

9. Harry Randall – 8.5
Making his first Six Nations start, the Bristol no.9’s slick service was immediately apparent and he also twice put boot to ball to good effect in the opening quarter before badly over-cooking a box kick. His trademark sniping pace created England’s second try plus Itoje’s disallowed ‘score’ and kept the hosts’ fringe defence honest throughout.


1. Ellis Genge – 5.5
Another England player whose first touch went forward and as Lawrence Dallaglio observed in commentary too often faced a battle to retain control of the ball in contact. Produced a lovely floated pass in the outside channel to create George’s second score on the stroke of half-time before his forward pass ended a move that seemed destined to produce a fourth score soon after the restart.

2. Jamie George – 9
Scored England’s second and third tries – the latter with an impressive burst and agile finish – and played a full part in England’s well-oiled lineout which had a 100 per cent return when he departed.

3. Will Stuart – 6
The Bath prop’s early nerves were not helped by his concession of a first-minute penalty at the lineout, but he soon made amends by forcing a maul turnover. Carried hard and did his share of the donkey work defensively before being replaced at half-time.

4. Charlie Ewels – 6.5
Involved in England’s second try, soared to good effect under Italy’s restarts and played his part in their excellent lineout operation.

5. Nick Isiekwe – 6
Carried usefully in the build-up to England’s second try before being penalised for the lineout blocking which saw Itoje’s touchdown ruled out. Another whose lineout work impressed.

6. Maro Itoje – 8
Used regularly as a lineout option and more prominent as a carrier than usual following his shift from the second row to the blindside. Thought he’d scored from close range only for the TMO to intervene.

7. Tom Curry – 7
Unlucky that his charge-down of Paolo Garbisi didn’t produce more. Got his hands on the ball in the outside channels as well as closer to the coalface where he put in a characteristically action-packed shift. Perhaps fortunate to avoid a ‘red zone’ yellow card when Italy made their first serious entry into England’s 22 in the 50th minute.

8. Alex Dombrandt – 6
Smashed regularly and hard into Italy’s front-line defence without finding the sort of space he enjoys at domestic level. Twice won penalties on the ground when Italy’s carriers got isolated.


16. Luke Cowan-Dickie – 6
Replaced George in the 55th minute and started with a perfect long throw before missing his target at the second and third times of asking. Marked his first-time ascent to the captaincy following Curry’s departure by winning a penalty on the ground five metres from England’s line.

17. Joe Marler – 6
The fourth-quarter replacement for Genge had little chance to shine.

18. Kyle Sinckler – 7.5
Arrived at half-time and made an immediate impression by winning penalties against the feed in the opening two scrums of the second half. Got his name on the scoresheet late on.

19. Ollie Chessum – 7
Leicester’s 21-year-old lock made his England debut with 15 minutes remaining and snaffled a turnover following an Italian knock-on.

20. Sam Simmonds – 6
Arrived in the 55th minute and found little opportunity with ball in hand.

21. Ben Youngs – 6
Moved alongside Jason Leonard as England’s most-capped player when he appeared from the bench for his 114th international but frustrated England fans by box kicking possession away following his forwards’ 15-metre lineout drive.

22. George Ford – 6
Played the last few minutes alongside Smith.

23. Elliot Daly – 8.5
Arrived as an HIA replacement for Nowell in the 16th minute and saw plenty of action with ball in hand. Claimed a high ball with a huge leap at the start of the move which ended with his team’s third try then scored their fourth. His best England display for a while.

Source: RugbyPass

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