Player Ratings: Italy
OPINION: Italy started their Six Nations campaign with a loss, but there are plenty of positives that new head coach Gonzalo Quesada can take from the performance in Rome.
Seeing as in their last two performances the hosts had shipped a combined 156 points against France and the All Blacks, this was a drastic improvement.
Italy led at half-time, and though they could not hold on to record a first-ever win over England, Quesada will be optimistic after his first game in charge.
Josh Raisey rates the Italian players:
15. Tommaso Allan – 6
Dealt with England’s aerial attack well, even if he did have to wear a few big hits in doing so. Finished off a lovely move for Italy’s second try and kicked well enough, although missed a crucial penalty in the second half when his side wanted to claw their way back into the game.
14. Lorenzo Pani – 4
Saw very little action and simply could not get himself into the game while on the field.
13. Juan Ignacio Brex – 7
Carved through a ragged English defence and then offloaded well to create Italy’s first try, and played a vital role in the Azzurri’s second, linking up with Paolo Garbisi in the midfield to bamboozle England’s defence.
12. Tommaso Menoncello – 6
A strong ball-carrying presence in the midfield and solid in defence, including a display of sensational strength to repel Tommy Freeman in the first half when the England wing came very close to powering over the line. Did, however, slip off a tackle on Alex Mitchell in the second half, which allowed the Englishman to dart over and his side take the lead.
11. Monty Ioane – 7
Richly rewarded late on with a try following a display where he may not have seen the ball on his wing a lot, but went hunting and put in a lot of effort. Showed a strong fend for the try and pace to go with it.
10. Paolo Garbisi – 6
Managed the game well in the first half, left England’s defence in tatters for Italy’s second try with a simple loop. Was not gifted the luxury of space and time in the second half as he was in the first, and found himself under a lot more pressure.
9. Alessandro Garbisi – 5
Was on hand to score Italy’s opener in Dupont-esque fashion but completely missed Freeman’s peach of a line in England’s opening try, drifting away to open a gap for the Northampton Saints wing to step into.
1. Danilo Fischetti – 5
A busy performance defensively from the prop.
2. Gianmarco Lucchesi – 4
Will have nightmares of the extended arms of Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum at the line-out when he goes to bed as his throwing was put under serious pressure. Was leading the match for tackles when he left the field after 50 minutes, but was otherwise fairly ill-disciplined, including a penalty within seconds of the match starting.
3. Pietro Ceccarelli – 4
Went off early in the second half after what was a quiet display at best. Did not pose much of a threat to England in any department and was at fault for a first-half penalty attempt at goal.
4. Niccolò Cannone – 4
Was outworked by plenty of his teammates in the pack.
5. Federico Ruzza – 5
Threw his weight around at the breakdown to disrupt England and tackled well, but offered very little with the ball in hand.
6. Sebastian Negri – 7
Was Italy’s go-to man in terms of carries in the tight, and added to his performance with plenty of tackles during the hour he was on the field
7. Michele Lamaro – 5
A display that was tarnished by a late yellow card, but it was a typically productive performance that many have come to expect from the Italy captain.
8. Lorenzo Cannone – 6
Left the field after England had just taken the lead in the second half but was instrumental to their strong first-half display. Yes, was penalised for England’s first three points, but won his own breakdown penalty too. Put in a strong defensive shift and assisted the opening try of the match.
16. Giacomo Nicotera – 5
Injected energy off the bench but was unable to make a significant impact in the closing quarters.
17. Mirco Spagnolo – 5
Came on when Italy’s scrum was starting to look like it could buckle, but shored things up well.
18. Giosuè Zilocchi – 5
Penalised at the scrum soon after coming on, but did redeem himself with two penalties of his own.
19. Andrea Zambonin – 4
Had too little time to make a real difference.
20. Alessandro Izekor – 5
A promising future for the flanker on debut, albeit did not really show what he is capable of with his cameo.
21. Manuel Zuliani – 5
Could not provide the same impetus as Lorenzo Cannone after replacing him early in the second half.
22. Stephen Varney – 5
Tasked with turning things around for Italy in the final stages, he did inject some tempo at points.
23. Federico Mori – 4
Not a huge amount of action on his wing at the end, although did come close to scoring.
By Josh Raisey, Rugbypass