Six Nations - Rome, 14 February 2010, 15:30 local, 14:30 GMT
Italy (6) 12 - 17 (6) England (FT)

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Summary

Time Score  
 

Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to scrum.com's coverage of today's 6 Nations clash between Italy and England in Rome.

The visitors are, of course, the overwhelming favourites to prevail after last weekend's opening-round victory over Wales. However, England were by no means convincing at Twickenham and Martin Johnson will be hoping for a first 80-minute performance from his troops.

Italy remain the Championship's whipping boys but they made life difficult for England upon their last visit to Rome two years ago and the Azzurri will have take some positives out of their 29-11 defeat by Ireland in Dublin last weekend, a game in which they frustrated their hosts for long periods - albeit without ever really looking capable of recording an upset.

The Italians' cause has undoubtedly been aided too by the fact that Nick Mallett has decided against making any ludicrous team selections akin the one which saw Stade Francais flanker Mauro Bergamasco at scrum-half against England last year!

Indeed, there are just two changes to the side which faced Ireland, with Marco Bortolami returning to the second row in place of Carlo Antonio Del Fava, who has been ruled out for a month with a knee injury sustained in training. Behind the scrum, meanwhile, Andrea Masi has earned a recall on the right wing at the expense of Kaine Robertson, who scored Italy's solitary try last weekend.

As for England, Brive's Riki Flutey makes a welcome return from injury at inside centre at the expense of Toby Flood, while there is a first Test start for Leicester's Dan Cole, who replaces David Wilson at tight-head prop. For a full preview, why not check out Graham Jenkins' preview here?

So, an interesting game lies ahead of us. Will England claim a convincing win? Will Italy put a decent back-line move together?! We'll find out soon enough as kick-off is just under half an hour away....

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14:25 The teams are just walking out on to the pitch now. A warm and pleasant atmosphere in the Stadio Flaminio, as ever.

From Scrum.com Editor Graham Jenkins: "All eyes on the Flutey-Tait combo - this could be the start of a beautiful relationship for England - and what better day for it to begin - will we fall in love with England again today?"

14:30 Right, the national anthems are out of the way so it's go time in Rome!

1

Very promising start by England. After claiming Jonny Wilkinson's superbly-measured kick-off, they are immediately on the offensive and Delon Armitage looked set to score on the corner until the covering Tito Tebaldi managed to get across and boot the ball into touch.

3

Italy have recovered from that unsettling start and are even trying to move the ball wide! They've earned themselves a penalty and a decent attacking line-out inside the England 22.

5

It's all Italy at the moment. They're lineout is much improved after last weekend's horrow show in Dublin and they're taking the ball competently and confidently through the phases. Zanni

6

For a brief moment, it appeared that Zanni might have broken through for the Azzurri but after collecting Craig Gower's crossfield kick, the Italian No.8 lacked support and ended up throwing possession away to England.

7

Oh dear, the commentator's curse has struck, as Italy's lineout has now started to crumble, handing the initiative back to England, who looked a little startled by Italy's early aggression.

8 0 - 3

Another poor lineout from the Italians leads to a penalty which is easily converted by Wilkinson. England are up and running and that score should settle them.

10 3 - 3

Italy come storming back and Nick Easter is pinged for not releasing the tackler, thus presenting Italy with a immediate chance to level matters. And Mirco Bergamasco takes it, splitting the sticks from some 35 metres out. A fine kick from the centre.

13

After a pretty frenetic opening, the game has settled down somewhat and it's gotten a tad scrappy. Italy still looking pretty confident in themselves, though.

14

Best move of the match so far. Armitage comes into the back-line and passes inside to the oncoming Cueto, who with the aid of superb line, dissects the Italian defence. The Sharks wing then passes wide to Monye, who sets off down the left wing. He looked a decent bet to score but Mirco Bergamasco was on hand to snuff out the danger.

17

Italy are penalised for an offence on the tight-head side of the scrum but, rather surprisingly, Wilkinson fails to land the resulting kick. It was roughly 40 metres out but it was a very kickable penalty for a goal-kicker of Wilkinson's pedigree. It means the fly-half will have to wait a little while longer to break the 500-point mark in 6 Nations rugby.

19

Monye dances his way past a succession of would-be tacklers but the move again comes to nothing. The Lions ace is looking sharp but perhaps he should have gotten rid of the ball earlier.

21

Scrum.com Editor Graham Jenkins: "BBC's Nick Mullins says the contest has been fantastic so far - is he watching the same game as me?"

23

After a plethora of powerful pick-and-drives, England are awarded a penalty just to the left of the sticks. Remarkably, Wilkinson misses again, this time dragging the ball wide of the uprights. That was a shocker from the Toulon No.10. Martin Johnson does not look impressed!

25

England scrum-half Danny Care is caught offside and now it's Mirco Bergamasco's turn to have a crack at the sticks. The centre's kick initially looked good but it then drifted to the left of the posts. We remain deadlocked!

27

A commanding lineout take from Easter lays the foundation for a menacing England attack involving Tait, Armitage and Hartley. However, Italy hold firm, winning the ball back after an England scrum, and eventually clear to touch after England are guilty of not rolling away.

30

Craig Gower got himself into all sorts of bother a moment ago after looking to kick to touch and then suddenly changing his mind. Italy managed to prevent a turnover and ultimately manger to clear their lines.

32

Moody gives away a needless penalty and that sets up an Italian lineout some 15 metres from the England line. An excellent attacking position for the Azzurri.

33 6 - 3

After a clean take in the air, Italy work the ball inside. Canale takes it into contact and England are yet again pinged for not releasing the tackler. Much to the delight of the home fans, Bergamasco chips over from right in front of the posts and Italy lead in Rome!

36

Shaw catches Gower napping, slapping the ball out of the fly-half's hands at the back of a ruck and England have the turnover. Shaw appears to have hurt himself in the process of stealing the ball, though. Looks like a shoulder injury but he's back on his feet and is ready to continue.

38

Shoddy work from England. After some decent go-forward ball from Cole and Moody, Castrogiovanni pilfers possession back for Italy on the floor. A superb steal from the Leicester prop.

39

Armitage steps into the line to great effect once more, the fullback releasing Flutey, who blazes a trail through the Italian defence. The centre lacked support when he needed it most, though, and he was taken to ground on the Italian 22.

40 6 - 6

England kept the move alive, though, and Moody very nearly managed to barge his way over in the right corner only to be denied by a big hit from Castrogiovanni. England's pressure eventually led to a penalty and Wilkinson made amends for his earlier misses by converting from close to the left touchline. A great strike and we're all square at half-time at the Stadio Flaminio. No tries but it's fascinating stuff. Are Italy on the verge of claiming their first win over England at the 16th attempt?!

40

We're back underway in Rome. A big half for both sides.

42

Penalty to Italy for a high tackle on McLean by Flutey. Gower's subsequent strike on goal falls short, though. One could easily argue that Gower should not have been given a shot on goal given that the penalty probably should have been reversed given that Perugini aimed a forearm into the back of Flutey's head just seconds after the latter's challenge on McLean!

45 6 - 11

TRY! England have finally breached the Italian rearguard. Monye, who's looked menacing whenever he's gotten the ball in hand, explodes down the left wing before passing inside to Armitage. The fullback straightens up before releasing the supporting Tait, who races through to score. A fine move. The less said about Wilkinson's conversion the better, though! The fly-half really hasn't brought his kicking boots today.

49

Italy are trying to lift themselves after the hammer blow of Tait's try, which pretty much came out of nowhere, but the Azzurri still look woefully short on quality behind the scrum. Same old story really.

52

England looking far more dangerous with the ball in hand now. Amazing what a try can do for a team's confidence. They looked poised to score again moments ago but were called back for a forward pass from Tait to Flutey. A shame for England as Flutey had hit the line at tremendous pace.

54

Masi looks to have taken a nasty knock to the face and he's been forced off with a bloody nose. Robertson has come on in his place. Can he bring some incision to the Italian back-line?

56

Monye streaks clear once more before eventually being wrapped up deep inside the Italian 22. England then try to work it wide but the move comes to nothing, with Armitage's attempted grubber going out on the full. Back we come, though, for an earlier penalty and Care boots the ball into touch five metres from the Italian line.

58 6 - 14

After a clean take, England batter away at the Italian line until Castrogiovanni is tempted into trying to steal the ball whilst off his feet. The prop's indiscretion earns himself a yellow card and also enables Wilkinson to extend the visitors' advantage with a simple kick.

60

Perugini has had another pop at Flutey. Fair to say that those two won't be heading for a romantic meal after the game!

61

Italy are coping quite well without Castrogiovanni and momentarily had a man over on the left wing but Canale just couldn't manage to get the ball away after stepping inside his man.

63 9 - 14

Easter is guilty of coming in from the side and the Italians have a penalty. Mirco Bergamasco reclaims the kicking duties from Gower and proves just why by landing a 35-metre kick. The Italians, despite still being down to 14 men, are right back in this.

65

Stirring stuff from the hosts, who are now taking the game to England, with McLean starting to make things happen from fullback.

66

After a deep kick into England territory, Cueto looked set to be swallowed up by the Italian chasers but the Sale wing didn't panic, gathering the bouncing ball before streaking past four players. Excellent work from Cueto.

68

Moody takes out McLean in the air and that sparks an outbreak of handbags. Bottom line: penalty Italy. England are looking very, very uncomfortable at the minute.

69

Castrogiovanni ambles back on to the field and Italy are back to 15. Things are about to get really interesting now because the Italians are really relishing the task at hand.

71 12 - 14

More English indiscipline at the breakdown and Bergamasco draws Italy to within a single score. What a finish in prospect in Rome.

74 12 - 17

England manage to stem the flow of Italian pressure, taking the ball through a few phases in Italian opportunity before setting up Wilkinson for a sweetly-struck drop goal. A very, very timely score from the No.10.

76

Italy are piling on the pressure in the set-piece but do they have the creativity to pierce the England defence?

77

Italy try to spread the play but without ever really looking penetrative and after what looked like a forward pass, they eventually knock on. Scrum England.

79

England have really taken the sting out of this game and Italy look set to come up short once more.

80

Italy try to run it from deep. McLean chips it forward but Monye is underneath it and England are quickly support. The ball comes out on the English side and it's kicked into touch to bring an end to a game what has provided Martin Johnson with more questions than answers. On the whole, that was a pretty dismal performance from the visitors. Credit to Italy, though, they lack quality but they showed plenty of enthusiasm and a willingess to take the game to England. Grounds for optimism for Nick Mallett ahead of their crunch clash with Scotland in a fortnight.

Timeline

Time Italy  Score  England
0 start of first half start of first half
8 0 - 3 Wilkinson - penalty goal
10 M Bergamasco - penalty goal 3 - 3
33 M Bergamasco - penalty goal 6 - 3
40 6 - 6 Wilkinson - penalty goal
40+1 end of first half end of first half
40 start of second half start of second half
45 6 - 11 Tait - try
53 Perugini - sub off
Aguero - sub on
Tebaldi - sub off
Canavosio - sub on
55 Robertson - sub on
Masi - sub off
58 Castrogiovanni - yellow card 6 - 14 Wilkinson - penalty goal
59 Mullan - sub on
Payne - sub off
60 Sole - sub off
Perugini - sub on
61 Robertson - sub off
Masi - sub on
63 M Bergamasco - penalty goal 9 - 14
64 Shaw - sub off
Deacon - sub on
Wilson - sub on
Cole - sub off
69 Hartley - sub off
Thompson - sub on
70 Masi - sub off
Robertson - sub on
71 M Bergamasco - penalty goal 12 - 14
72 Derbyshire - sub on
Perugini - sub off
SE Armitage - sub on
Moody - sub off
74 12 - 17 Wilkinson - drop goal
75 Ghiraldini - sub off
Ongaro - sub on
Hodgson - sub on
Care - sub off
80 end of second half
end of half
end of second half
end of half
80+1
0
80

Notes

 
Result England won by a margin of 5 points
Six Nations points England 2, Italy 0
 
Ground name Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Attendance 31876
 
Referee CD Berdos (France)
 
Italy Test debuts none
England Test debuts MJ Mullan

Teams

Italy England
Tries none Tries Tait (45)
Pens M Bergamasco (10, 33, 63, 71) Pens Wilkinson (8, 40, 58)
Drops none Drops Wilkinson (74)

Match stats

Italy   England
0 Tries 1
0 from 0 Conversion goals 0 from 1
4 from 6 Penalty goals 3 from 5
66.7% Kick at goal success 50.0%
0 Dropped goals 1
Kick/pass/run
45 Kicks from hand 40
122 Passes 99
83 Runs 79
322 Metres run with ball 471
Attacking
0 Clean breaks 10
10 Defenders beaten 11
11 Offloads 9
66 from 66 (100.0%) Rucks won 61 from 61 (100.0%)
2 from 2 (100.0%) Mauls won 3 from 4 (75.0%)
7 Turnovers conceded 8
Defensive
80/9 Tackles made/missed 93/11
89.9% Tackling success rate 89.4%
Set pieces
7 won, 2 lost (77.8%) Scrums on own feed 4 won, 1 lost (80.0%)
12 won, 2 lost (85.7%) Lineouts on own throw 9 won, 2 lost (81.8%)
Discipline
10 Penalties conceded 14
1/0 Yellow/red cards 0/0

Italy stats

Pos   T/A Pts K/P/R MR CB DB OL TO Tack LO Pen Y/R
FB McLean 0/0 0 9/4/6 77 0 1 0 0 3/0 0/0 0 0/0
W Masi 0/0 0 4/4/11 59 0 3 0 0 1/0 0/0 1 0/0
C Canale 0/0 0 4/1/4 31 0 0 0 0 3/2 0/0 0 0/0
C Garcia 0/0 0 0/5/7 12 0 0 0 0 6/0 0/0 0 0/0
W M Bergamasco 0/0 12 1/1/3 7 0 1 0 1 6/0 0/0 1 0/0
FH Gower 0/0 0 18/29/5 32 0 1 0 1 2/0 0/0 0 0/0
SH Tebaldi 0/0 0 6/37/2 0 0 1 0 0 2/1 1/0 0 0/0
P Perugini 0/0 0 0/0/1 0 0 0 0 0 5/0 0/0 0 0/0
H Ghiraldini 0/0 0 1/1/7 18 0 0 0 0 5/0 0/0 0 0/0
P Castrogiovanni 0/0 0 0/1/6 0 0 0 0 1 7/1 0/0 5 1/0
L Geldenhuys 0/0 0 0/2/7 4 0 0 0 0 7/1 3/0 0 0/0
L Bortolami 0/0 0 0/2/1 0 0 0 0 0 8/1 3/0 1 0/0
F Sole 0/0 0 0/0/5 5 0 0 0 0 3/0 4/0 1 0/0
F M Bergamasco 0/0 0 0/5/1 0 0 0 0 0 8/0 0/0 0 0/0
N8 Zanni 0/0 0 0/6/8 61 0 3 0 2 9/2 0/1 0 0/0
(H) Ongaro 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0 0/0
(P) Aguero 0/0 0 0/1/2 0 0 0 0 0 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
(F) Derbyshire 0/0 0 0/1/2 0 0 0 0 0 2/0 0/0 0 0/0
(SH) Canavosio 0/0 0 2/21/4 16 0 0 0 1 1/1 0/0 1 0/0
(W) Robertson 0/0 0 0/1/1 0 0 0 0 1 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
Key T/A Tries / Try Assists Pts Points scored
K/P/R Kick / Pass / Run MR Metres Run with ball
CB Clean Breaks DB Defenders Beaten OL OffLoads TO TurnOvers
Tack Tackles made / missed LO LineOuts won on throw / stolen on opp throw
Pen Penalties conceded Y/R Yellow / Red cards

Eng stats

Pos   T/A Pts K/P/R MR CB DB OL TO Tack LO Pen Y/R
FB DA Armitage 0/1 0 8/11/10 72 1 2 0 0 3/2 0/0 0 0/0
W Cueto 0/0 0 5/4/10 95 2 2 0 0 6/1 0/0 1 0/0
C Tait 1/0 5 4/5/3 34 2 1 0 1 7/1 0/0 0 0/0
C Flutey 0/0 0 0/2/4 65 1 2 0 0 11/0 0/0 2 0/0
W Monye 0/0 0 4/2/5 108 4 3 0 1 2/1 0/0 1 0/0
FH Wilkinson 0/0 12 11/10/3 7 0 0 0 0 6/0 0/0 0 0/0
SH Care 0/0 0 6/44/2 13 0 0 0 2 6/1 0/0 0 0/0
P Payne 0/0 0 0/0/5 2 0 0 0 0 3/0 1/0 1 0/0
H Hartley 0/0 0 0/2/4 12 0 0 0 0 7/0 0/0 1 0/0
P Cole 0/0 0 0/0/4 12 0 0 0 1 2/0 0/0 1 0/0
L Shaw 0/0 0 0/4/5 5 0 0 0 0 4/0 0/0 0 0/0
L Borthwick 0/0 0 0/2/3 2 0 0 0 1 7/1 1/1 0 0/0
F Haskell 0/0 0 0/1/4 6 0 0 0 0 12/0 1/0 1 0/0
F Moody 0/0 0 0/2/5 14 0 0 0 0 7/3 0/0 1 0/0
N8 Easter 0/0 0 0/9/10 20 0 1 0 2 5/0 4/1 2 0/0
(H) Thompson 0/0 0 0/0/1 2 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 1 0/0
(P) Wilson 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 1/1 0/0 0 0/0
(P) Mullan 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 2/0 0/0 0 0/0
(L) Deacon 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 2/0 0 0/0
(F) SE Armitage 0/0 0 0/1/1 2 0 0 0 0 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
(SH) Hodgson 0/0 0 2/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
Key T/A Tries / Try Assists Pts Points scored
K/P/R Kick / Pass / Run MR Metres Run with ball
CB Clean Breaks DB Defenders Beaten OL OffLoads TO TurnOvers
Tack Tackles made / missed LO LineOuts won on throw / stolen on opp throw
Pen Penalties conceded Y/R Yellow / Red cards

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