Six Nations 2018: Italy v England Match Rating

Stadio Olimpico

How did you enjoy the match today between Italy and England in Rome?

What were the highlights? Which players performed well?

What does each team need to work on ahead of next week?

Give the match a rating out of 10, and please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Rate the Match: Italy v England

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27 thoughts on “Six Nations 2018: Italy v England Match Rating

  1. Good first game for England with a decent result away in Rome. Great performances all through the team but Simmonds, Farrell and Watson stood out for me. Nowell and Joseph were good off the bench, whilst Williams and Hepburn played well up front.

  2. It’s finally happened, one of Youngs and Care have gotten injured. Looked really bad and possibly out for the season. Robson next in line?
    Ford and Farrell were brilliant today, worked very well together. Watson and Simmonds with so much gas, forwards created a good platform. Nowell and JJ both looked lively.

    1. Sadly apparently EJ has already said that he will be replacing Youngs with a “kicking half-back” which presumably means Wrigglesworth…solid but hardly looking to the future.

  3. Decent start at a venue where we’ve often spluttered a bit. Thought Italy played a decent game which was heartening, and it wasn’t just about Parisse this time. Things for England to work on as tougher tests to come, particularly next week. Scrum half definitely a problem area now. Wigglesworth, Robson, even Vellacott maybe. Was Heinz called into the squad a while back or am I dreaming it? Hoping EJ brings two scrum halves onto the squad, but not really expecting it.

    1. Could you elaborate at all? That’s a bit if a sweeping statement.

      There was nothing average about Watsons finishing. May made some nice breaks. Farrell attacked the line well and some of the passing from him and ford were lovely. Itoje got through a lot of work.

      Agreed though there were average elements. Breakdown wasn’t the best. We seemed to switch off at times and the penalty count was still too high.

  4. England never really got out of 3rd gear and yet we played well in spells.

    To win by nearly 30 points in your 1st game is not bad at all.

    Wiring for some is they are only going to get better :)

  5. Hats off to Italy, they have improved under O’Shea and competed with England really well but the final score is the final score and England’s finishers came through again.

    Three points to make for me with playing personnel:

    1. I echo what others have said and the dam has burst over scrum half, Robson has to be a shoe in.

    2. Linking to the above comment it was refreshing to see Mike Brown coming off and Watson going to play full back, this has been the position that I feel England are not using resources well in and to many eggs are put in the Brown basket.

    3. Sam Simmonds has put his hand up as a option at 8, what a game he had tackling, making meters and two excellently taken tries, for me the man of the match. He has to be a viable option to big Billy, i’d pick him over a fit Nathan Hughes.

  6. England should be pretty satisfied with that performance. It was a step up from the Autumn. An excellent set piece, 7 good tries along with a number of strong individual performances, notably Simmonds who was outstanding.
    First time out thats a pretty decent return.
    Question marks over back row balance, OC and FB (Mike Brown is obviously struggling) so all isn’t entirely rosy.

  7. Italy is a ixture which is a bit “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Given that I was broadly happy. I feel they gave enough of a test to knock off rust for the rest of the comp and there were huge learning opportunities in the game:

    1) Sam Simmonds is a VERY good rugby player. He is not a test 8. I was very concerned by his close quarter carrying and his control at the back of the scrum. He is class though and would be an asset at 7.
    2) Ford and Farrell are the beating heart of this side. Calls to break them apart are naive
    3) There is a lot of depth in English rugby at the moment
    4) England’s attack showed the value of set piece. Those first two tries were a delight and scoring from starter moves (think back to Scotland game last yea) has become a real trait of this team

    How will England beat Wales? I think kick long and off pitch, put Wales under pressure at Lineout.

    I’d attack inside 12….Parkes and Williams are brilliant defenders so I would play narrow. My sense is that England’s tight 5 is more dynamic and capable of out fatigueing Wales

    Chip away at the score board…I would take drop goals at every chance

    1. Agree with most of that, particularly the tactics for Wales. Although Scotland let themselves down, I was very impressed by the Welsh defence. It will be a real challenge to break through, and I suspect multiples of 3 will be the more reliable route.

  8. Good to see that Italy didn’t just roll over. They looked decent in parts and for once not entirely dependent on Parisse. Their 13 looked a handful

    Simmonds is a find. Agree with playing him at 7 once we have a fit 8 back in.

    Breakdown was shaky again – but there’s only so much Robshaw can do on his own. Please EJ call time on playing locks at 6. Any back row containing Lawes/Itoje will be easy prey for Wales and Ireland

    Hartley looked better than he has for a long while and the scrum went very well.

    Nowell looked sharp after all his injuries and would have him in for May. Joseph looked decent as well, but I’m still not convinced that in attack, he’s more than a flat-track bully

    Presume we’ll see Wigglesworth in for Youngs?

      1. I did indeed.

        Certainly not defensively. His defensive record is great against all teams.

        However, on the attacking front he has a tendency to disappear against the best opposition. Of his 17 tries for England 5 have been against Italy, 4 against Scotland and 2 against fiji

        Jones has noted this when he left him out of the training camp last year, saying he struggled to impose himself against some teams.

        1. I see. Thanks for clarifying.

          I think I was thinking more in the sense of physical and style of play. You make a good point.

    1. Good note on that, I thought Hartley was excellent in exactly the areas Jones values him. Scrum was brilliant, line out was perfect with him on the pitch too. Turns out international coaches are right – club form doesn’t often carry into the test arena.

  9. Dylan Hartley was the better hooker on display yesterday. His Hooking basics are so good and I do really understand why he is so important to England….

    1. Really liked seeing Hartley offering himself as a runner much more.

      He actually hits decent lines at good speed and should do it more often. He makes a good decoy runner as well

      1. No. Watson did. An Italian man of a match would be almost as surprising as Launchbury winning it for the World Cup loss against the Aussies.
        Think Guirado won it for France – may be who you are thinking of

  10. I predict Eddie to select Wigglesworth as the back up scrum half. He has a lot more experience and is a more controlling player than Robson. Much as I like Robson as a player I think England need experienced cool heads against the rest of the teams. Eddie knows that Wiggy has the temperament and ability to compete at the top level, somewhere that Robson has not been fully tested.

    1. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wigglesworth start ahead of Care. I think Eddie sees Care as the quintessential “finisher” and likes to use the injection of tempo he brings to full advantage against tiring opposition.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised either. Wiggy is arguably the best controlling scrum half available. Whilst he may not be everyones cup of tea, he will put England in the best areas of the pitch with his cultured left boot.
        Also very handy for long range penalty kicks to touch on the right side of the pitch.

  11. Cant help feeling tat Brown is 100% recovered from his concussion as that was an uncharacteristically bad performance. The basics which he usually do well were missing and he offered absolutely nothing in attack. I would drop him for the Wales game

  12. Thought England did well first game, apart from the penalty count and few errors such as May being caught out of position for their first try then he tried to make amends in the kick off and got pinged. Taking nothing away from Italy who look much improved and will give other teams problems

    1. Harsh on May, Michael. The defence was one short on his side and he had to come in to threaten the inside man because there was not enough cover. Dazza, I have always liked Wigglesworth and thought he was discarded too early, but if you were Danny Care who has come off the bench for the vast majority of his 76? caps, and the bloke who had been blocking your path was finally out of the way for a while, how would you feel if someone who hasn´t played at international level for three or four years was parachuted in in front of you? I know I would be absolutely bloody furious. Quite late in his career Care has improved more than almost any player in England in the past couple of years and deserves his chance to show he can start. Psychologically, leaving him to fret on the bench would be a bad move. Apart from that, I think that with his experience Wigglesworth´s control is ideal to bring on to see out a close game. PS Does anyone know if Mercer is fit again?

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