Six Nations

England dish out Six Nations hammering to Italy

2019-03-09 20:54
Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones (Getty)

London - Manu Tuilagi scored his first Test tries in five years as England thrashed Italy 57-14 at Twickenham on Saturday to maintain their Six Nations title hopes.

The rampaging centre, whose career has been blighted by injuries, crossed twice as England ran in eight tries in total against perennial strugglers Italy, for whom this was a 21st successive defeat in the Six Nations. 

England will, however, need Grand Slam-chasing Wales to slip-up against Ireland next weekend before they themselves kick-off against Scotland - beaten 18-11 by Wales at Murrayfield earlier on Saturday - if they are to still have a chance of claiming the Championship.

The match was over as a contest before half-time, with Tuilagi scoring one of England's four tries as they secured a bonus point in just the 32nd minute.

Before the match, Tuilagi had said one job for England's inside backs was to give recalled wing Joe Cokanasiga the ball.

They did just that with Cokanasiga, making 108 metres, five clean breaks and two offloads in a man-of-the-match display as England bounced back from a 21-13 defeat by Wales in style.

"I just wanted to take this opportunity with both hands," said Cokanasiga.

England coach Eddie Jones added: "We used the whole 23 today, we could have used the finishers (replacements) better against Wales, and that was my fault, but they all made a contribution today."

Jones had deliberately selected a hugely powerful backline, pairing Ben Te'o and Tuilagi in midfield as well as recalling Cokanasiga. 

Italy, to their credit, were briefly level at 7-7 thanks to flyhalf Tommaso Allan converting his own try.

But there was a reason the Azzurri, who've now lost all 25 of their Tests against England, were 60/1 outsiders and from then on it was largely one-way traffic.

"It was difficult," Italy coach Conor O'Shea told the BBC.

"That was an incredibly powerful England performance."

England, dominating territory from the start, opened the scoring in the eighth minute when hooker Jamie George was driven over from a close-range lineout.

Italy then stunned a capacity Twickenham crowd of over 82 000 with a well-worked score that saw Allan, breaking through a tackle by England scrumhalf Ben Youngs on the blind side for a try he converted.

Minutes later, however, England were 14-7 ahead after fullback Elliot Daly sent Jonny May in for the wing's fifth try in four Tests.

Tuilagi, renowned as a powerful ball-carrier, then burst through Italy wing Angelo Esposito's tackle and handed off centre Michele Campagnaro before running in from 34 metres for his first England try since one against Italy in 2014.

Flyhalf Owen Farrell, who converted that try as well, then found himself in the unusual position of being booed at Twickenham when he opted to kick, rather than run a penalty that extended the lead to 24-7.

A full Test was assuming the air of a match involving the Barbarians, where both teams are expected to run the ball come what may.

Tuilagi then turned provider, with another strong run before a well-timed inside pass to Brad Shields saw the back-row score his first Test try.

But Italy captain Sergio Parisse was continuing to drive hard despite the scoreline, the No 8 returning for his 137th Test after missing the defeat by Ireland with concussion.

Front-rower George produced a cut-out pass worthy of a silky midfielder to send Tuilagi in for his second try in the 47th minute.

Farrell, for once, missed the conversion but it scarcely mattered.

Italy managed a second try when Luca Morisi went over in the 54th minute, Allan again converting.

But England were not done, George Kruis charging down fullback Jayden Hayward's kick for a 64th-minute try converted by George Ford, one of a stream of replacements.

Reserve scrumhalf Dan Robson then scored his first Test try before another charge down saw Shields grab his second touchdown of the game.    

Read more on:    england  |  italy  |  six nations  |  rugby


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