England 31-14 Italy: Borthwick off the mark as hosts shake off pain of Scotland loss

By Sports Desk February 12, 2023

England secured their first win of the Steve Borthwick era as Italy succumbed 31-14 to a performance of potent power at Twickenham.

After losing at home to Scotland in round one of the Six Nations, Borthwick's first game as head coach since replacing Eddie Jones, this time the men in white got it right.

It rarely set the pulses racing, but England produced an efficient display, giving themselves a foothold in the championship.

Flanker Jack Willis made a swift impact in his first Six Nations game for two years, scurrying through to score from a rolling maul in the 13th minute, with captain Owen Farrell adding the extras.

Italy lost narrowly at home against France last week, and victory over Australia in November showed they are an improving team.

England's superior strength served the hosts well though, and another opportunity arrived when Lorenzo Cannone was sin-binned. Two yards short of the Italy line, lock Ollie Chessum was fed a short pass by Ellis Genge and dived over for his first international try. Farrell slotted a simple conversion.

Scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet had a try disallowed in the 35th minute after a trip by Ollie Lawrence in the build-up. Yet England did not have to wait long before scoring again, another rolling maul allowing hooker Jamie George to drive over.

Italy, subdued before the break, began the second half more purposefully and Marco Riccioni reached out to dot down and get the Azzurri moving.

A touch of nastiness from Sebastian Negri, pressing his hand across the face of Farrell, showed Italy were ready to make the rest of the game uncomfortable for England.

Yet Italy replacement Simone Ferrari collapsed another threatening England rolling maul and conceded a penalty try, ostensibly ending prospects of a full-scale comeback from the visitors.

Alessandro Fusco danced through a static defence to cut the deficit to 26-14, but Alex Mitchell then fed Henry Arundell to score his first Six Nations try in the left corner and England were home and hosed.

 

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