Ruthless Saxons brush aside Italy
January 29, 2011
Ugo Monye powers through the cover defence to open the scoring for England
© Getty Images
England Saxons swept aside Italy A 45-17 at Sixways on Saturday to prove Martin Johnson has plenty of options in reserve ahead of the Six Nations.
There were a number of promising performances as the second string ran in seven tries in a dominant display that will have pleased the England boss, who has a number of injury concerns ahead of England's Six Nations opener against Wales on Friday.
England had established a 21-3 lead at the break thanks to tries from Ugo Monye, James Gaskell and Mike Brown with Stephen Myler converting all three. The English pack, led superbly by captain Chris Robshaw, continued to put the Italians on the back foot in the second half allowing the backs to take full advantage with the wonderfully elusive James Simpson-Daniel scoring twice and Manu Tuilagi and Paul Hodgson also going over.
The scratch side struggled to gel in the opening stages with a number of balls being spilled but in the ninth minute Monye opened the scoring. The intimidating spectre of Tuilagi and Billy Twelvetrees held the Italian midfield and the Harlequins winger, coming into the line from the other wing, powered through the defence and into the right corner.
Myler added the conversion before opposite number, Riccardo Bocchino, pulled back three points with a penalty after some incisive running from Italy centres Andrea and Matteo Pratichetti. Both sets of centres, though, would have been standing back in admiration moments later when lock Graham Kitchener fired a wonderful cut-out pass wide to back-row James Gaskell, who utilised his express pace to race in at the corner.
The Worcester lock almost scored five minutes before the break as galloped up in support of a superb run by Mike Brown but he was hauled down metres short despite the vocal backing of the home crowd. However as England recycled the ball for the third time Twelvetrees neat inside ball found Brown who crashed over.
Kitchener again played a crucial part in England's next score after half time as he threw out another wide pass to Luke Narraway lurking on the wing, and he flipped the ball inside to Simpson-Daniel who touched down in the corner.
England's defence survived a succession of salvos from the Italian forwards with prop Joe Marler pulling off a thundering try-saving tackle on former Gloucester lock Marco Bortolami. Then Simpson-Daniel turned provided with a weaving run through the Italy defence before releasing Tuilagi down the left wing with the Leicester man powering in at the corner.
Replacement scrum-half Paul Hodgson extended England's lead with another try before Italy fullback Paolo Buso gained a consolation for the travelling Italians.
Simpson-Daniel looked to have had the final word when he carved in past his opposite number and raced down the right wing to score. But as England continued to pile the pressure on Italy pounced on a turnover and Giulio Toniolatti raced clear to score.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin