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Sunday Feb 15, 2015

England lack early intensity but pile points on Italy in second half

England lack early intensity but pile points on Italy in second half
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Italy gave England an early scare after a Sergio Parisse try early on at Twickenham, but in the second half the hosts took control to come away with a 47-17 win. Coach Stuart Lancaster felt that the previous week’s match might have affected them.

Engand beat Wales 21-16 in what was a hard-fought Test a week ago, so when asked if he thought this may have contributed to the slow start against Italy, Lancaster said it was possible.

“It looked that way, without a doubt. It was a soft try we conceded first up, and it took until half-time [to improve]. I gave them a bit of a rev up and said: ‘Listen boys, we need to up the intensity’, and I thought we did that a little bit in the second half,” he said.

They lost Mike Brown after a nasty collision in the 13th minute, but the head coach didn’t use that as an excuse for what was a fairly laboured first half.

“I don’t think we can use that as a reason. I just think we were a little bit off, off the back of last week. We need to be better than that. Overall, if you had said to me at the start of the day that I would get 47 points, I would have taken it, if I’m being honest.

“But I’m slightly disappointed we couldn’t do a bit better,” Lancaster added.

Jonathan Joseph was on the scoresheet again, this time with a stunning run that split the Italian defence, and then an easy run in later in the match. England scored six tries on the day, but Joseph now has three from the two matches in this year’s Championship so far.

“It is going great. It was great to get the win today,” the 23-year-old Bath man said. 

“We didn’t start too well, going down, but the boys showed great spirit to come back and get the win. I think defensively we weren’t disciplined enough at first. We weren’t smart, we weren’t streetwise and we allowed them to get on top of us.

“But we sorted that out, got our systems into place it worked much better in the second half.”

The win was convincing by the time the final whistle blew, but England will need to up the intensity if they are to stand a chance against a powerful Ireland side when they meet in Dublin in a fortnight.

Was it a case of England being poor in the first half, or Italy upping their game? Which player impressed you most? Do you think Joseph is here to stay? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Register | Login



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35 Comments

  • hellraiser_rob
    11:15 AM 19/02/2015

    What dirt has Jonny May got on Stuart Lancaster?

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    11:12 AM 19/02/2015

    I don't get this comment, Nowell is a very good option if you ask me, can finish, breaks tackles, good under the high ball (against Ireland that will help!) & can defend! Nowell / Brown / Watson has pretty good balance i recon. May scores points, but i think he costs us more points than he scores.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:24 AM 19/02/2015

    Hi Nacho. In this video it is at 02:25. The clip here isn't as bright as the BBC one. You could clearly, and I promise it was clear, see the ball touching the ground. They showed slow motion, good quality replays on the BBC which showed the ball touching the ground. I didn't originally think it was a try, but the replays won me over completely. I am being objective, honestly. I don't expect you to take my word for it, but if you can find a copy of the BBC feed in decent quality you can see it for yourself. The ball is most definitely in contact with the ground. We might then have a separate discussion about who was in possession of the ball at that time, but a separate angle showed Vunipola's left hand on the ball from above.

    Reply
  • 7:42 PM 18/02/2015

    Yarde, may, ashton, wade can't tackle. Nowell can. I agree about Foden, also a great player.

    Reply
  • 7:41 PM 18/02/2015

    Don't know the guy in person. But just want the best for the team, and don't want to see lazy players. ;)

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:41 AM 18/02/2015

    The clip I saw was pretty clear. It was the BBC feed. He didn't ground it immediately, but it was grounded in the ensuing grappling on the ground. No downward pressure is necessary (although I believe it was there), the attacking player just has to be in control of the ball when it contacts the ground.

    Reply
  • rugbydump
    10:14 AM 18/02/2015

    I've done him a disservice. Thanks for pointing out the dyslexic typo :)

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    11:59 AM 17/02/2015

    He was injured during the NZ game, hence no more appearances in the Autumn. He's been back with Bath for a few weeks now so it does baffle me how he's not even in the training squad.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:03 AM 17/02/2015

    I've gone away to look up the laws to try to make sense of what happened. Law 22.3: (b) When an ATTACKING player who has possession of the ball grounds the ball in in-goal and simultaneously contacts the touch-in-goal line or the dead-ball-line (or anywhere beyond), a 22m drop-out is awarded to the defending team. Law 22.9: (a) A DEFENDING player who has part of one foot in in-goal is considered to have both feet in in-goal. Vunipola was the attacking player and was not in touch. The defending player is considered in-goal because he had one foot on the pitch. Is my reading of the laws correct?

    Reply
  • danknapp
    10:55 AM 17/02/2015

    The Vunipola try was indeed a try. The ball is grounded and he has an arm on it. Try.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    10:52 AM 17/02/2015

    I know the arguments about not taking the seriousness of the injury into account, etc, as I've used them before, but I still want Pape to get a lengthy ban. I am a little unimpressed that the referee bottled it. That should have been a red card, no arguing. They even TMOed it. I didn't put Pape in my fantasy team because he's a liability, and once again he has proven me correct. What a complete dick.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:11 AM 17/02/2015

    I thought Roko was injured!? Can't see any reason why he's not in the England team otherwise.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:01 AM 17/02/2015

    Jonny May used to steal Phil's lunch money!

    Reply
  • facepalm
    9:25 PM 16/02/2015

    Why Nowell? He almost seems to typify the conservative selection policy that Lancaster's been so criticised for. When we have genuinely exciting options such as Yarde, Wade, Roko, Pennell and Ashton what is the Jack Nowell appeal? It's a massive shame Foden's out - he would be so great to have as a back three option.

    Reply
  • kadova
    9:20 PM 16/02/2015

    Vunipola's try was not valid form my own point of view (for what it's worth). Italy could score 3 tries at Twickenham and that's really good. Sad they do not have a proper kicker.

    Reply
  • benji
    8:49 PM 16/02/2015

    ...So, how do you feel about jonny may Phil?

    Reply
  • 6:54 PM 16/02/2015

    Cheers :)

    Reply
  • 6:54 PM 16/02/2015

    Shit don't know why my message copied itself sorry guys!

    Reply
  • 6:52 PM 16/02/2015

    I'm'not talking about ripping up the back line! I think it's great, just drop May! And Easter, for me someone saying what he did in 2011 about his fine shouldn't get a chance, but that is my old fashionned opinion. :) I agree with 36 on the bench he is playing his heart out, and done some great kicks (remember he played like 70 mins against Italy). And. I think we get the best out of him,when he comes on.

    Reply
  • guy
    4:38 PM 16/02/2015

    I hope the 'single-unit-theory' will never materialize in an actual law. I believe the ref should look at the player taking the ball into contact. After all a lot of tries are being scored with hands of opponents on the ball.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    3:48 PM 16/02/2015

    Actually on the topic of wings, if not Nowell I would really like to see Rokoduguni given another shot, especially after his performance against Sarries on the weekend. He barely got a chance to show what he's capable in the Autumn and deserves another opportunity.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:34 PM 16/02/2015

    Italy may have done Ireland a favour by falling away as much as they did. This scoreline indeed massively flatters England and if they think they'll beat Ireland in Dublin playing like that they're in for a shock. England need to approach preparation this week with the mindset that they got lucky in this game. Need to get out of the blocks a lot faster next week too. If they give Ireland a 10-point head-start, I don't think the Irish will be so accommodating. Italy played some nice rugby in this game. Hopefully they can kick on and get a scalp before the end of the tourny.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:25 PM 16/02/2015

    Quite a popular view here that Vunipola's "try" was the turning point of the game. Definitely a pivotal moment, but I would say the actual turning point was Mike Brown's injury. Sad to say it, because it feels unfair finding positives in a bloke's misfortune, but the Italians had some real momentum up to that point and the long break while the medics dealt with Brown really seemed to take the wind out of their sails. England took possession and territory straight after the restart and then stifled Italy's attempts to get back into it. So that was the turning point, chronologically. But the biggest influence in the score was Haimona missing all those kicks. I think it was something like 26-10 when you could still say that if Haimona had nailed all his kicks Italy would still have been within a point of England's score.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:51 PM 16/02/2015

    With respect to Italy, as they did play some pretty good rugby, it's a bit worrying that we managed to ship 3 tries against them. Especially when you consider the defensive performance against Wales. Glad to see our attack having some good shape to it now. Can't believe I'm saying this but Tuilagi is looking less essential to the WC plans with Joseph about. As for May, I've always felt that the stick he got was a bit harsh at first but now it is getting a bit much. He really needs to start coming up with more moments like his try again NZ or creating Cipriani's try in this game to justify his place in the team. How he didn't bundle Morisi into touch is a bit baffling. Thoroughly looking forward to the Ireland game, keep the same team although I agree with the sentiments above and swapping May with Nowell.

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:30 PM 16/02/2015

    A good victory by England with great performances by joseph and youngs. but the score clearly flattered them. That vunipola 'try' which was never a try changed the momentum of the game. But we can't always find excuses to italy. The 60 minutes minutes 'physical' step seems too big for them. If only the 15 players could match Parisse hyper-activity..

    Reply
  • reality
    10:49 AM 16/02/2015

    Phil, after reading your comment last week about May it was funny to see how poor he was here. The Italian commentators were laying into him for blowing the 2-on-1 out of selfishness. Then for Morisi's try - come on! Morisi is strong enough for a back but he's not exactly Jacques Fourie. Any winger should be able to make that tackle 99 times out of 100. Regarding Pape, I remember you writing before that he was a thug but I didn't really understand your vehemence. Now I understand. An absolute prick! I really hope he gets cited because possibly breaking someone's vertebrae out of thuggery is simply inexcusable and they need to make an example of him.

    Reply
  • reality
    10:44 AM 16/02/2015

    Yeah, I had never heard it before, but she did seem to know what she was talking about and supposedly is Italy's premier female referee. I imagine it has something to do with the fact that Gori had his hands on the ball at first. If both players have their hands on the ball and one goes into touch, then surely the ball should be considered in touch? I don't really know. I actually thought the ball was grounded, but I assumed it was considered in touch before then being grounded. She didn't go into detail or quote a rule - she just said that in that situation they should be considered a single unit. It kind of makes sense, because otherwise you might have a player who's 95% in touch but lying on top of another and who grounds the ball with his 5% hand, which doesn't seem very fair. It'd be kind of hard to draw the line though and say when it should be considered touch and when not. Maybe it's about if your weight is resting on a player in touch or if you're over the touchline but still in the air.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:41 AM 16/02/2015

    7:07 (final Italy try) - I think this is what the ref said to the TMO under new protocol: "Seriously, did white 11 really not manage to shove that bloke into touch?" I'll be honest though, I'm pleased that try was scored because it was a beauty, especially the quick flick by Masi. To be fair it's a good finish too by Morisi...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:21 AM 16/02/2015

    Completely agree on Pape - what a ******* coward. Why a bloke that size feels like he has to resort to cheap-shot stuff like that is beyond me. And he does have previous too, so I'm with you in hoping for a long ban.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:21 AM 16/02/2015

    Not sure why you want to drag up a four-year-old, off-the-cuff, remark when assessing a record-breaking (oldest 6nations try-scorer) performance by Easter. Almost as irrelevant as people who can't resist prefacing comments about Cipriani with some nonsense about 2008. By the way, as I've raised the subject, I thought he was a bit too loose and some of his kicks seemed a bit aimless, but that is based on a short cameo. However, the try was awesome - he really attacked the line with frightening pace and a great support line. Good to see two speedsters in him and May combining like that. Another neat segue - apart from that excellent run where he completely took three defenders out of the game, I was again unimpressed by May. There was one try-scoring opportunity that he butchered through relying on his admittedly awesome acceleration/pace when there was a 2on1 outside him. More importantly his defence seems unreliable. I remember that Woodward analysis of Michalak - bloody hilarious. He got really angry didn't he!! Disagree with this idea of ripping up the backline again! Finally we have some cohesion and a set of players doing well in their right positions and I think we now have a chance to build some consistency leading up to the world cup. Joseph showed he's adaptable enough to play out of position, but he's our best option at outside centre and should play there. Harsh on 36, but I'd stick to Burrell-Joseph - in actual fact, I think it's great to have Twelvetrees coming on as a in impact replacement; he seems to create minimal disruption to our side but adds a real impact. Reminds me of Mad Dog Moody! So maybe give Nowell another go ahead of May but leave the rest of the backs alone! (One slight caveat, if Mike Brown's unavailable Watson the full back playing at wing, showed he's very capable of bringing his club form to England in both positions).

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:36 AM 16/02/2015

    First I've heard about treating two players as a unit - where did she pull that from? Surely it's simply a case of whether the ball carrier grounds the ball (downward pressure not part of the rule any more) over the line before he goes into touch. My view was that there wasn't enough evidence to award the try, but I was also looking at it quite emotionally in that I thought Gori had put in a hugely impressive effort to stop Vunipola. But there was one single camera angle which sort of showed the ball touching the ground with Vunipola holding it. That's the one the TMO used to make his decision.

    Reply
  • 11:03 PM 15/02/2015

    A proper ban. And most importantly hope Heaslip recovers quick, to get a verterbre kneed out of place must hurt!

    Reply
  • 11:01 PM 15/02/2015

    Reality I agree with the Bortolami comment, also Bergamasco, ok he has had a good (ish) career but Italy should look to the future. Campagnero brilliant shame he was injured. Parisse is still a great leader, and youngsters should have the chance to play alongside him!!!!!!!! Apart from Haimonas goal kicking I thought he was good. Italy need a goal kicker. England.... Ah... First things first, thank you Italy for proving once again (remember May getting dumped last year against Italy?) that Johnny may is not good enough for this england team. Ok he is quick, but second half he was really lazy. Two years ago saint andre picked Michalak and Clive woodward done a "michalak cam" (just followed him for like 4-5 passages of play) and he just point and walked about, not giving two shits about the team. May was walking and pointing way too much for my liking. Italys last try is the cherry on the cake... : Lancaster bring in Nowell for May, or... Shuffle the back line maybe have twelvetrees at 12, 13 burrell 14 joseph and 11 and 15 brown and watson (whatever way round brown 11 or 15). You can do the same when Manu comes back. Joe Marler, ten tackles for a loosehead. His workrate is immense! The whole pack. I recon Lawes and Kruis are the second row for the future, but Attwood is playing well, and Launchbry will have to play his nuts of to start again (but he normaly does...). Same with Croft in (however long he played 15-20mins?) he put in around 7 tackles. Ben Youngs was slow on a few occasions but I would still start him with care on the bench. Keiran brookes and Vunipola are too unfit to be in this squad. Looking forward to seeing Corbisiero back, shame about Wilson neck. Hope he gets well soon. Don't like Easter for what he said after getting his fine in 2011. Too arrogant for this squad. But he's been alright to be fair. Good call for taking Brown of. Just another thing I said last year that Pape was a thug. And old fashion thugish second row. Hope he gets...

    Reply
  • reality
    8:22 PM 15/02/2015

    Very broken performance by England. They didn't seem to gel at all, and aside from a few good individual performances like Joseph's they weren't that great. Italy were actually surprisingly good for the first 50 minutes but were their own worst enemies. Kelly 'Rome' Haimona missing three simple kicks in a match like that is simply not good enough. He was also the one at fault for Joseph's first try. I'm no fan of Allan, but they should really start him after Haimona's disaster display. Aside from him, most of England's early points came from stupid, headless penalties given away by Italy and lack of concentration. Also, Marco Bortolami? Why in God's name was he there? He's terrible and always has been! Why bring a 34-year-old who's not even good out of the wilderness? Some great attacking play though. Parisse's try was excellently taken. Morisi's two tries were works of art. Really, really excellent. What do people think of Vunipola's try? I was watching the Italian coverage, and at half time there was a class-looking referee on the panel (a woman) and she explained that in that situation Vunipola and Gori should have been considered a single unit and therefore he should have been considered in touch before grounding it. I don't know what the BBC said, but it's one of those situations that always made me wonder about. He was obviously over the touch line but was on top of Gori, and so didn't touch the ground. Gori seemed to have his hands on the ball, at least at first, so if he's in contact with the ball then surely the ball would be considered in touch. I trust the class Italian referee but I don't know exactly what the rule is.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    8:13 PM 15/02/2015

    I hate to pick them up, but referees were extremely poor in their decisions making this week-end. Especially in the Scotland-Wales games. As for England, that Vunipola try put England right back into the game. Moreover it came from a infringement in midfield that was far from obvious (legit contest to my mind). I am pretty sure the game would have been different otherwise.

    Reply
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England lack early intensity but pile points on Italy in second half | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos