Italy eye historic victory
February 6, 2012
Chris Ashton swan dives against Italy last year for one of his four scores © Getty Images
England will be going out to extend their unbeaten run against Italy when the two teams come face to face at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
There have been 17 Test matches involving the nations since 1991 with the Azzurri yet to taste success. Indeed, England are the only team among those competing in the Championship that Italy have never beaten.
Italy came close to ending that run in Rome in 2010 where England laboured to a 17-12 victory - Italy's second best result in the history of the fixture. Italy's last visit to Twickenham ended in disaster though with Martin Johnson's charges making light work of the threat posed by the Azzurri as they ran in eight tries en route to their 59-13 triumph.
England's 80-23 triumph at Twickenham during the 2001 Six Nations is the highest score and biggest winning margin of the series. The result also stands as the record score for any International Championship match.
Italy's 23 points that day is their highest score against England, though their best result was the four-point (19-23) defeat in Rome in 2008.
England's 10 tries at Twickenham in 2001 is the most by a team in a match in this series. The best Italian try return is three at Twickenham in 1996.
Jonny Wilkinson set the mark for the highest individual score in a match. He gathered 35 points at Twickenham in 2001 to set the current individual record for most points by a player in any International Championship match. Diego Dominguez scored 15 points for Italy at Huddersfield in 1998.
Austin Healey scored the first of the three try hat-tricks by England in the matches, crossing in Rome in 2000. Jason Robinson repeated the feat in Rome in 2004 and Mark Cueto at Twickenham in 2005. But last year, at Twickenham, Chris Ashton smashed all the records as he ran in four scores for England - the first to do so in a Test since Nick Easter against Wales back in 2007. No Italian player to date has scored two tries in a match.
Jonny Wilkinson heads the list of overall scorers in the series with 148 in nine appearances. Diego Dominguez, who played seven times against England, holds the corresponding record for Italy with 51.
Austin Healey and Mark Cueto are the leading overall try scorers with six. Mirco Bergamasco has three tries in the series.
Italy-England results in the Six Nations:
In 1986, a full-strength England XV were held to a 15-15 draw in Rome in a match that only Italy recognised as a cap match.
The Azzurri also gave caps for three matches against England under-23 sides between 1975 and 1982, and for the match in 1985 against England B. The results of these games were as follows: 1975 England u-23 29-13 (Gosforth); 1979 Drawn 6-6 (Brescia); 1982 Italy 12-7 (Padua); 1985 England B 21-9 (Twickenham).
Neither the RFU nor the FIR awarded caps for the Italy XV - England XV game in Rovigo in 1990, even though the teams fielded were of Test standard. The English won 33-15.
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