Sunday, February 14, 2010
England held off a spirited effort from Italy to narrowly win their Six Nations encounter 17-12 at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome earlier today.
It looked as though a huge upset would be on the cards as Italy threw everything they had at England in the last 20 minutes of the match, getting to within two points of victory.
Despite coming away with the win in the end, it was the Italians who will take more from the match, as they lifted their performance from last weeks game against the Irish in Dublin.
England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson had an uncharacteristically bad day at the office, missing a few straight forward kicks at goal and failing to control a backline that lacked direction.
He did however kick the dropgoal that extended England's lead, following on from the earlier try, the only one of the match, scored by Matthew Tait.
Despite the less than impressive performance, captain Steve Borthwick brushed the inevitable criticisms aside as he said a lot of positives could be taken from the match.
"We said from the outset that we wanted to win every match, and we have won the first two," said Borthwick.
"Preferably one likes to win by large margins but Italy are a tough side and we said during the week that it would be a tough match.
"I think we played some outstanding rugby. The breaks by Ugo Monye and Delon Armitage down the flanks were fantastic. We can take a lot of positives out of this."
BBC pundit, and former England international, Jeremy Guscott promptly commented on Borthwick's match analysis saying "He's brainwashed. His mind played a different match to his body."