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Saturday, March 15, 2014

England notch up 50 in Rome but Championship fate out of their hands

England set out to score 50+ points against Italy in the hope of surpassing Ireland's superior points difference to give themselves a solid chance of winning the Six Nations, but they only beat Italy 52-11, so have to rely on a French win to hand them the title.

Seven tries in Rome impressed coach Stuart Lancaster, who said he was proud of his team for going there and doing something not many other sides have ever done.

"We scored some great tries and we've come here and scored 50, and not many teams have done that," said England coach Stuart Lancaster. "There were some errors in the first half, but I'm just proud of the boys. It's a great squad we've got developing and the bigger picture is important."

Mike Brown scored twice, while Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, Mako Vunipola, Manu Tuilagi and Chris Robshaw all crossed for tries, with Italy's Leonardo Sarto snatching an intercept try for the hosts.

A string of substitutions late in the game appeared to affect England's rhythm as they struggled to really kick on and pile on the points as planned. A late Robshaw try brought up the fifty though, rubbing salt in the Italian wounds.

Italy coach Jaques Brunel has a lot of work to do ahead of the June internationals after Italy took the Wooden Spoon, having lost all five of their Championship matches. They play Fiji, Japan and Samoa in what will be a tricky summer series of matches for them.

"We started this tournament well and we finished negatively," said Brunel. "We're behind in terms of what our goals were."

UPDATE: Official extended highlights (7 mins long) are now included below

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Posted in Six Nations 2014

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