England 57 Italy 14: match report & betting pointers
Eight-try England reap the benefit of bulked-up backline
T: George, May, Tuilagi 2, Shields 2, Kruis, Robson; C: Farrell 4, Ford 3. P: Farrell.
T: Allan, Morisi. C: Allan 2.
1-100 England, 50 Italy, 100 draw (handicap 32-33 points)
England were in control from the front and it didn't take long for the much-talked about new-look physical backline - particularly Joe Cokanasiga - to make an impact. The hosts were relentless in their pressure and ambition and were full value for a 24-7 lead at the break.
England coach Eddie Jones said afterwards that an aspect that pleased him most was his players' willingness to keep up their intensity and ambition even with the game won. Eight tries was an impressive return but questions have to be asked again about Italy's defence.
What they said
England coach Eddie Jones
“I thought Ben and Manu were good. “They hit the ball hard, created opportunities, drew defenders in and we scored some good tries. We probably left three of four out there.
“The physicality in the game is getting greater and greater so if you have big guys who can move fast and have skill it’s pretty advantageous."
Italy coach Conor O'Shea
"Sometimes you can over analyse things. We were overpowered. And they're an unbelievably powerful side.
"They were a hurting side. But they're the best side in the Six Nations, in my opinion.
"With the ball we caused problems and showed some really good moments in the match and we could've had more out of the match, instead of the couple of tries we got."
Since he took charge as England coach, Eddie Jones has said if there was one thing he could change it would be to have bigger backs, and the line-up that faced Italy looks to be as close as he has got to his wish coming true. Whether it is a sustainable approach remains to be seen as Italy didn't have the attacking game to ask questions of Cokanasiga in defence.
Italy weren't able to live with England's power and execution and having stood up reasonably well to Wales and Ireland at home, they looked as disorganised in defence as they had done against Scotland at Murrayfield in round one. There has been a big gulf between performances at home and away for the Azzurri this year and it may be that they had one eye on the visit of France in round five.
England: E Daly; J Cokanasiga, M Tuilagi, B Te'o, J May; O Farrell, B Youngs; E Genge, J George, K Sinckler; J Launchbury, G Kruis, B Shields, T Curry, B Vunipola; replacements: L Cowan-Dickie, B Moon, D Cole, N Hughes, M Wilson, D Robson, G Ford, H Slade.
Italy: J Hayward; E Padovani, M Campagnaro, L Morisi, A Esposito; T Allan, T Tebaldi; A Lovotti, L Bigi, S Ferrari, F Ruzza, D Budd, S Negri, B Steyn, S Parisse; replacements: L Ghiraldini, C Traore, T Pasquali, D Sisi, J Polledri, G Palazzani, I McKInley, T Castello.
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