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Sunday, February 08, 2009

England victorious over Italy at Twickenham

England victorious over Italy at Twickenham

Harry Ellis scored two tries as England defeated Italy 36-11 in the opening match of the 2009 Six Nations on Saturday. Andy Goode, Riki Flutey and Mark Cueto also touched down as England outscored Italy five tries to one. Goode kicked four conversions and a penalty.

Martin Johnsons Six Nations campaign got under way in a less than convincing manner, with most of the English tries coming from the visitors errors. Nevertheless, a win is a win, and a good start to the tournament.

Italys coach Nick Mallet experimented with playing classy flanker Mauro Bergamasco at scrum half. It failed dismally, as he had an absolute shocker which led to him being substituted at half time.

With a regulation number nine on, Italy looked a far more dangerous side in the second half, creating opportunities.

England finished stronger though, playing some of their best rugby in the last five minutes.

It was a scrappy match, but a fair result on the scorecard for England. Next week they take on Wales, which promises to be a far more exciting encounter.


Time: 04:20

Posted at 11:36 am | 26 comments

Viewing 26 comments

Sea-Bass February 08, 2009 1:38 pm

The first half was easily won by England due to the failed experiment of putting Bergamasco at 9.But the second half was closely contested and the Azurri pressurized the English with their aggressiveness in the contact area, and in my opinion played better than their opponents. Its a shame for the Italians that the experiment went so wrong, but a grave mistake of their coach Nick Mallet to keep Bergamasco playing. The replacement #9 played well and with his (lack of) experience at this stage, I was impressed.But these two teams dont hold a candle to Ireland and France. They played on a whole different level. They played rugby at its best

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optimist February 08, 2009 1:56 pm

England seem to have some weird disabilaiy to pass the ball more than 3 players down the line. they where crap and i think that they need to make some serious chandes in the team for next week. Goode did ok, but i thnik that flood is better and will take his place when he is fit again.

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Ads February 08, 2009 2:21 pm

IMHO england are playing a hugely restrictive game atm. Ive noticed a pattern - in mid-2006, John Wells and Mike Ford came in as assistant coaches, and since then, England have slowly slid downhill. Only odd great performances such as RWC 07 (where the senior players took over and did their own coaching) have masked that pattern. And now its gone all to pot. The forwards coaching is woeful, and the gameplan is so conservative - pass it to forwards and truck it up the middle. The idea is that quick ball will set up a platform for the backs to go from, but because Englands forwards coaching is terrible, England cannot cope at the breakdown, hence this all falls apart. It saddens me because England have such great, talented players, but they are restricted by this awful, stifling, conservative coaching. I also cant see the sense in Noon - Tindall falls out, so instead of simply promoting the in-form Tait up from the bench, you fly in Noon, who did NOTHING in the autumn, in from a struggling club? Doesnt make sense.I have faith in Johnson, but he has to make a tough desicion and hand Wells and Ford their P45s, otherwise England will never improve consistantly and have a hope of raising back to their past glories.

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Abs7 February 08, 2009 2:23 pm

from what i heard england looked pretty average!! how did the london irish brothers play??

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Kember February 08, 2009 2:23 pm

I was at the game and didn't think it was as dour as people made out although that probably had alot to do with the Guiness...I'd like to see the whole game again on T.V.God knows why we persist with noon at centre when we have someone like Tait.C'mon the Sweaties against Wales!

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Kember February 08, 2009 2:28 pm

Ads, completely agree with you there about Wells and Ford. They need to be shown the door quickly so we can inbed new coaches in time for the RWC.We all know you can be ruthless Johnson so lets see that in effect.He should have got Shaun Edwards when he had the chance.

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vinniechan February 08, 2009 2:35 pm

For those who think England was shit, I'd like to offer a different point of view:There was a clear liability in Italy, England just gave them the ball let them screw up and took the chances. It didn't look pretty but it worked.After 5 tries from the back. No matter how unconvincing that was, it was 5 tries.Against Australia, England didn't take the chances they created. Against Italy, England didn't create any but took them all. Brian Smith must be wondering whether to laugh or cry.

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Ads February 08, 2009 2:43 pm

Shaun Edwards is a ruthless, clinical, aggressive and gritty character - exactly what England are missing at the moment. Johnno,despite his legendary status, cannot lift this team with the below-par leutenants he has. The saddest thing is, I have no doubt that the players we have will compete with anybody - Tait, Kennady, Haskell, Easter, Vickery, Sheridan, Ellis, Cueto and others are all strong enough to be there. Brian Smith is also a great attack coach, but he and the players are stifled by poor forwards/breakdown/defence coaching.Look at how Wales have done with good, determined coaching - Gatlthey have developed players like Bryne, M/S Williams, Hook, R/S Jones, and others into some of the greatest players in the world.

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themull February 08, 2009 4:37 pm

Is it just me or does Andy Good look the image of the chuckie doll from those horror films...lol

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ryebye February 08, 2009 5:17 pm

England were really bad i watched the ireland game after and within 10 mins the irish and french backs had shown more back like ablitly then england did in the whole 80 mins of play against italycan't belive it took until the 78th min for england to score a try that didnt come from a italian mistakeafter just waching the wales game im not looking forwatd to next week i know england will raise their game as its wales, but im not hopfull. . . .

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Anonymous February 08, 2009 5:47 pm

lucky england got the win otherwise they could have been wooden spoon contenders.tthey are shocking,johnson has his tactics all wrong

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adrian February 08, 2009 5:47 pm

Andy Goode should improve his kicking skills. England might lose if he keeps missing penalty/conversion kicks like that in the games ahead

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Don February 08, 2009 6:01 pm

Please, it was the english playing an italian side, a very weak italian side that was using a flanker as a scrummie...nothing to write home about.

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jacobo February 08, 2009 6:18 pm

typica of the italians .. they dive in every spor ( and i thought rugby was better than diving for a penalty)

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Rancid February 08, 2009 6:46 pm

Pathetic display. Just pathetic.

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KiKi February 08, 2009 6:49 pm

Good job for Italy but the England team was better.

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Anonymous February 08, 2009 7:04 pm

There was a clear liability for the Azzuri but I don't think it was exactly a great strategy to be hoofing the ball from just inside our own half with no determined chase. I absolutely agree with 'the opimist'. Everyone is way too greedy! Goode was out just to TRY and take everything on himself just to try and stick with his position, 'I know I'll attempt an up-and-under and if it works I'll take the credit if not it was someone elses fault.' He kicked it so much at points I thought he didn't trust anyone outside him. Cueto touched the ball twice, he countered well and scored a try, so why not throw the ball out to him a bit more? And for Flutey and Noon they just seem identical, short boshing machines... well hardly. Tait came on and mixed things up a bit and it got a little more exciting in the last 5. England play so much to the book that it's predictable even from sitting on my sofa. We definitely have the players and ability but things just need to change!Saying all that hats of to Italy's 2nd half!Sorry if it sounded a bit grouchy, in no way am I saying I or anybody else could do a better job, it just aggrevated me to know we have the potential to put Italy away by 40.

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matt n February 08, 2009 8:59 pm

England took the foot off the gas waaay too much when they could have walked it to 50 points.the forwards wernt good enough and the backs need time to gel, Harry Ellis was outstanding, Goode wasn't bad and I didnt see enough from the rest to merit a mention

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cheyanqui February 09, 2009 4:50 am

Marco Bergamasco at #9 stands as one of the great WTF moments of Nick Mallett's career.Somewhere between two other WTF moments -- picking Gaffie Du Toit, and not pick Gary Teichmann.

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cheyanqui February 09, 2009 4:52 am

themull,Andy Goode's resemblance?I can see some Chucky.However, if asked for my first impression of a serial killer, I give him half Chucky, half Jame Gumb (aka "Buffalo Bill").

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thedannyclayton February 09, 2009 8:51 am

For the first time in my life i'll be happy if Wales only beat England by 10. What does this say about England? Well firstly why did we employ a man with ZERO top class coaching skills. Why are Wells and Rowntree still there when we have the most possession and the worst and slowest ball?Why can almost every supporter see this and not England top brass?Rob Andrew: please fuck off and take your shambles with you.

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Anonymous February 09, 2009 12:01 pm

I actually didnt think England played that poorly. Italy definitely gifted them some tries but at least england took advantage of the mistakes. At least it is an improvement on the pathetic, woeful performance agaisnt, australia, NZ and SA. There was definite improvement although they were playing only Italy.England does need to make changes in the backline. Keep ellis, he played well and keep Goode who was solid. The centres are crap. Flutey simply has to go and noon is definitely struggling. They have no impact at all. bring in tait he has the ability to create some opportunityStill dont think they have any hope against Wales, Ireland and France,

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Anonymous February 09, 2009 4:40 pm

Wow... England struggled to beat the weakest Italian side i've ever seen since they play the 6 Nations!

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Anonymous February 09, 2009 9:52 pm

just a question, is there no way josh lewsey could be coaxed out of his recent retirement ? at least he would bring some experience to a side that definetly need it and it may be a bit of a long shot but england dont exactly have an abundance of options at the moment. i also think harry ellis should be given the 9 jersey until care (when returning from injury) shows form worthy of it.

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Anonymous February 11, 2009 7:29 pm

even though it ewas a poor performance, everyone is saying thsat we won because they made alot of mistakes (which is true) but atleast we capitalised on tyhe mistakes instead of just watching it.

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ed February 12, 2009 6:04 pm

dont know what cueto was doing trotting over the line, seemed very relaxed about scoring and nearly got taken out, again.

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