England recorded a comfortable win over Italy in sun-drenched Rome on Saturday afternoon, beating the hosts 52-11. Chasing Ireland’s points total going into the game 49 points behind, they fell agonisingly seven points short.
It didn’t take long for England to get into their stride, Luther Burrell giving a nice offload to Mike Brown who sprinted down the left hand touchline to cross for the first of his two tries. Owen Farrell then scored in the 31st minute before Brown bagged his second shortly before half time.
There followed four second half tries for England, including a first for Jack Nowell, as they genuinely threatened to surpass Ireland’s points difference and set Ireland a target in Rome. But an intercept try for Italy’s Leonardo Sarto in the 68th minute put paid to that, and in the end they couldn’t chase it down.
For England, Mike Brown was once again the stand out player. The fullback made 111 metres, beat five defenders and made seven gainline breaks. Manu Tuilagi also impressed after coming off the bench, making 37 metres and five gainline breaks in his half an hour on the pitch.
There wasn’t much to shout about for Italy, but centre Michele Campagnaro again looked good. The youngster made 46 metres beating four defenders, and made seven tackles in a solid defensive effort.
The stats in general were comprehensively in England’s favour. They made an impressive 480 metres to Italy’s to 271, and beat a huge 25 defenders – smashing the pre-game target of 15 set by the IBM TryTracker.
So all eyes are on Paris now, and England fans find themselves in the strange situation of having to cheer on the French. Unlikely, sure, but stranger things have happened. Allez.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
For more stats and live analysis during all the England games, head to IBM TryTracker.
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images