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England survives Azzurri comeback

MATCH REPORT: England bounced back from last week’s shock loss to Scotland to record a 31-14 win over Italy in a Six Nations Round Two match at Twickenham on Sunday.

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Dominating all aspects of the game England held a 19-0 lead at half-time, but were given a scare by a more willing Azzurri after the break, with the visitors winning the second half 14-12.

The result has kept alive England’s hopes of winning the championship, although they still rely on other results going their way in the last three rounds.

* To recap the drama, CLICK HERE!

It was also England’s first win under new coach Steve Borthwick.

Italy’s pack were unable to cope with England’s driving maul from close-range line-outs, while recalled centre Ollie Lawrence repeatedly made inroads into the Azzurri defence.

Borthwick’s reign had started with a 23-29 loss at home to Scotland last weekend in the first round of the tournament.

However, on Sunday his side surged into a commanding 19-0 lead at half-time after tries by forwards Jack Willis, Ollie Chessum and Jamie George.

Italy, fresh from a highly creditable 24-29 loss to y reigning Six Nations champions France in Rome, arrived in London with genuine hope of a first win over England.

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But instead, they suffered a 30th defeat in as many matches between the two nations.

Marco Riccioni pulled a try back for Italy shortly after the break, before another England line-out drive led to a penalty try and a yellow card for Azzurri replacement Simone Ferrari.

Italy was not finished though, with replacement scrumhalf Alessandro Fusco, only on the field for a matter of seconds, going over for a 63rd-minute try after a break by wing Tommaso Menoncello.

But nine minutes from time, Henry Arundell put the result beyond doubt when he went over for a try following good work by fellow England replacement back Alex Mitchell.

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Man of the match: Young fullback Ange Capuozzo, veteran flyhalf Tommaso Allan and scrumhalf Stephen Varney made brave attempts to keep Italy in the game. Ollie Lawrence was impressive with ball in hand and Jack van Poortvliet continues to improve with every Test. It is up front where England did most of the damage – Alex Dombrandt, Lewis Ludlam, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler and Jamie George all having a good day at the office. Our award goes to England flank Jack Willis – with a match-high ?? tackles, some impressive carries and metres, as well as a couple of turnovers.

Moment of the match: It is, without doubt, the penalty try and Simone Ferrari yellow card in the 49th minute – ended any hope of an Azzurri comeback. Not that they didn’t try.

The scorers

For England
Tries: Willis, Chessum, George, Penalty try, Arundell
Cons: Farrell 2, penalty try does no require a conversion

For Italy
Tries: Riccioni, Fusco
Cons: Allan 2

Yellow cards: Lorenzo Cannone (Italy, 26 – repeated infringements, playing a man in the air), Simone Ferrari (Italy, 49 – cynical foul, collapsing maul near his own line)

Teams

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Max Malins, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Henry Arundell.

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Tommaso Menoncello, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Edoardo Iachizzi, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Pierre Bruno.

Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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