England get the Italian Six Nations job done

Jonathan Joseph scored three tries for England

England remained on track and took back the top spot in the Six Nations standings after beating Italy 9-40 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

England centre Jonathan Joseph scored three tries in the second half as the visitors outscored their hosts by five tries to none.

Italy managed to hold England for the first 60 minutes but when they tired England ran in four tries in the final 22 minutes.

There will however be concerns about England’s continued lack of dominance at the breakdown.

After an inspirational 23-21 defeat to France in Paris, Italy proved resilient in a battling first-half in which they did well to make up for the loss of three players due to injury.

Gonzalo Garcia and Alessandro Zanni followed Marco Fuser in limping off prematurely but despite the losses, Italy dug in.

Canna, who made a positive impression on his Six Nations debut last week, stepped up to curl a penalty through the middle of the posts in the opening minutes.

England levelled soon after thanks to Owen Farrell’s 12th minute penalty from just inside Italy’s 22 following a knock-on at the lineout.

Farrell was sent off to receive treatment after a crushing hit by Garcia, the centre returning to the fray after Canna hit his second penalty to level for the hosts shortly after George Ford had given England a brief 6-3 lead.

Italy called on Garcia’s long-range kicking skills for a penalty that was 40 metres out on the right, but the big centre’s effort was off target.

It proved a costly miss, with Ford touching down near the left corner flag minutes later after England recycled the ball brilliantly through Ben Youngs.

Italy suffered a blow when Garcia limped off seven minutes before the interval, moments after his grubber kick had helped push them into England’s 22.

But the hosts were able to reduce the arrears to 11-9 when Canna hit his third penalty after a high tackle by Youngs.

England looked on their way to a second try on the cusp of half-time when the ball was worked out to Jack Nowell, but the Azzurri defence held firm.

Jones had kept six forwards on his replacements bench with the plan of a second-half onslaught.

It duly came, but was in large part thanks to a near general collapse of Italy’s defensive game.

England were lucky to avoid a yellow card when James Hasekll tackled Luke McLean as the full back was coming down from catching a ball in mid-air.

Jones immediately replaced Youngs with Danny Care, and moments later Canna missed a crucial chance for a one-point lead by hitting his penalty wide.

Italy were still holding their own but the game turned on Leonardo Sarto’s ambitious pass to Luke McLean. With Joseph lurking, it was naive and the England centre intercepted to run in for the try.

Jones replaced Haskell with Maro Itoje for his England debut, and the fresh legs paid dividends.

Joseph had his second try when he ran on to Care’s grubber, with Farrell’s conversion taking the score to 25-9.

Farrell added another three points with a penalty from distance and further tries from Joseph and Farrell rounded off a forgettable day of rugby for the Azzurri.

After two Six Nations Championship matches England have yet to concede a try which makes them early favourites to win the title given their points differential.

Final Score Italy 9 (9) England 40 (11) 

Scorers

Italy
Tries –
Pen – Canna (3)
Con –
Drop –

England
Tries – Ford, Joseph (3), Farrell
Pen – Farrell (2), Ford
Con – Farrell (3)
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)

Teams 

Italy

Luke McLean; Leonardo Sarto, Michele Campagnaro, Gonzalo Garcia, Mattia Bellini; Carlo Canna, Edoardo Gori; Sergio Parisse (capt), Alessandro Zanni, Francesco Minto; Marco Fuser, George Fabio Biagi; Lorenzo Cittadini, Ornel Gega, Andrea Lovotti

Replacements: Davide Giazzon, Matteo Zanusso, Martin Castrogiovanni, Valerio Bernabo, Abraham Steyn, Guglielmo Palazzani, Edoardo Padovani, Andrea Pratichetti

England

Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw; George Kruis, Courtney Lawes; Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (capt), Mako Vunipola

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Paul Hill, Joe Launchbury, Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Alex Goode

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