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Sunday Feb 15, 2015

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

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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