|Italy: (5) 5|
|England: (10) 34|
|Try: Young 2, George, Curry, Slade Pens: Farrell The inconvenients: Farrell 3|
England moved into first place to win the Six Nations with a painstaking bonus point victory over Italy.
Ben Youngs – celebrating his 100th cap – scored the first try, before Kyle Sinckler’s breakaway gave Jake Polledri the chance to strike back.
England came out with renewed intensity after the break and Youngs capitalized with their second score.
The visitors then found their rhythm, with Jamie George, Tom Curry and Henry Slade, 50 caps, all of whom crossed paths.
England will have to wait until France vs Ireland is over to see if they have won a first Six Nations title since 2017.
Ireland will be crowned champions if they win with a bonus point or by more than six points in Paris.
If Ireland wins by six points, the title is decided on the trials scored.
So far England and Ireland have scored 14 tries and if Ireland do not increase their tally and both teams end up on the same points difference, the title will be split.
France can claim the title with a victory in bonus points and a winning margin of 31 points or more.
England stutters in weird first half
As with a lot of sport in recent months, there was an odd tune surrounding the Stadio Olimpico as Ben Youngs fled to celebrate his 100th selection in front of strangely empty stands, before players sang the spaced hymns along. the sideline.
It had been seven months since Eddie Jones’ side played one last game and just under a year since their final World Cup defeat, but England fans were quickly reassured by the familiar sight of their side inflicting a try to Italy in the first five minutes.
Owen Farrell breached the Italian defense and found Youngs on the inside to give the Centurion a proper opening try, which the captain managed to convert.
Another comfort came as an Italian blackout offense gave England a penalty and Farrell chose to easily take three points in front of the posts.
But then things changed. A loose ball from Sinckler was claimed by Carlo Canna and he found Jake Polledri of Gloucester, the number eight sprinting clear to point into the corner.
The momentum remained with Italy as Lock Jonny Hill’s England debut was marred by a trip to the sin-bin for a high tackle on winger Edoardo Padovani.
England have repeatedly chosen to kick rather than throw the ball but this only seemed to work in Italy’s favor as they threatened to score on a lineout in the corner before Hill did. comes back to help earn a scrum penalty for his team.
It looked like visitors could walk into the dressing room with their heads held high, but an opportunity to try was cut short when Polledri entered their maul from the side, leading to a yellow card for number eight.
Renewed England take lead after break
England looked a lot sharper in the second half and were almost immediately rewarded with Youngs’ try.
The scrum-half sent a dummy pass from the base of a ruck and rounded propeller Danilo Fischetti, sprinting through the gap and through the tryline.
Maro Itoje led the charge in the second half, and after Wasps full-back Matteo Minozzi left the pitch with a nosebleed after colliding with Jonny May, the lock recovered the ball in a line-up to prepare for George’s try. a maul.
England have had three of the four tries needed for the bonus point which is crucial to their title hopes, but their momentum has momentarily slowed.
Right after Gloucester winger Ollie Thorley made his debut, flanker Curry took on the role of scrum half with Youngs on the ground during the blackout.
The forward picked up the ball from the base of the scrum to come down the sideline on the blind side and score, but Farrell missed the conversion and the opportunity for two points that could still prove crucial in the title bid from England.
The England captain – playing his first game since September due to a ban for a high tackle – redeemed himself as his grubber kick was chased by Ben Earl, who twisted on the ground and popped the ball for Slade to score.
However, he missed a second conversion and the chance to put more pressure on the scoreboard on Ireland and France, leaving England with a nervous wait.
Man of the Match: Ben Youngs
“We knew we would get there in the end” – what they said
England Youngs Man of the Match: “We always thought it was going to be a grinding process. “We were a bit overwhelmed in the first half, we were on our own line for a long time. We couldn’t quite get out and maybe with that yellow card [for Jonny Hill], we couldn’t get rid of it.
“But whatever it was, we knew that if we stuck to it, we would get there in the end and that was the most important thing we did. “
Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson
I think England are ready to win the championship. France will probably have enough to beat Ireland, but you have to think about the state of mind, because France is really going to have to chase her, which could open it up to Ireland.
Italy: Minozzi; Padovani, Morisi, Canna, Bellini; Garbisi, Violi; Fischetti, Bigi (capt), Zilocchi, Lazzaroni, Cannone, Negri, Steyn, Polledri.
Substitutes: Mori for Padovani (21), Ferrari for Fischetti (41), Palazzani for Minozzi (46), Lucchesi for Bigi (60), Ceccarelli for Zilocchi (60), Sisi for Cannone (60), Mbanda for Negri (72), Meyer for Lazzaroni (77).
Sin-bin: Foals (37)
England: Furbank; Watson, Joseph, Slade, May; Farrell (captain), Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Hill, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.
Substitutes: Earl for Underhill (53), Thorley for Watson (53), Genge for M Vunipola (58), Stuart for Sinckler (62), Lawrence for Joseph (67), Ewels for Hill (67), Robson for Youngs (72), Dunn for George (78).
Sin-bin: Hills (21)
Arbitrator: Pascal Gauzere