After a dismal second half performance, World Cup finalists England survived a late fightback to scrape past Italy 23-19 on Sunday's Six Nations match in Rome.
World Cup finalists England survived a late fightback to scrape past Italy 23-19 on Sunday after a dismal second half performance.
Paul Sackey and Toby Flood ran in first-half tries and Jonny Wilkinson kicked 13 points to give the visitors a win that did
little to dispel the doubts raised by last week's 26-19 loss to Wales.
The Azzurri's points came from a late Simon Picone try and four penalties from fullback David Bortolussi.
England scored after just three minutes when Wilkinson collected his own clever chip to put wing Sackey on his way and
then slotted the conversion. Italy responded with two Bortolussi penalties.
The visitors pulled away again on the quarter-hour mark when Toby Flood dived over after his centre partner Jamie Noon had charged down a Bortolussi clearance.
Wilkinson bagged the extra points to claim his 1,000th point for his country.
Italy's efforts were scuppered by sloppy work in the backs, with scrumhalf Pietro Travagli guilty of some loose passing.
Wilkinson split the posts with two long-distance penalties to put England 20-6 ahead at halftime.
The hosts were livelier after the break and their powerful backs had England on the back foot although several
three-quarter moves were executed too far behind the game line to pose any real threat.
Nevertheless, Bortolussi was able to narrow the deficit with a pair of penalties before Wilkinson pulled one back.
The mistake-riddled match came to life in the 70th minute when Italy wing Kaine Robertson burst down the right flank and
was stopped from reaching the line only by a desperate Noon tap tackle.
There was no keeping out substitute scrumhalf Simon Picone five minutes later when he charged down an attemped clearance by Danny Cipriani, who was on for Wilkinson, and went over between the posts to set up an exciting finish.
Date created : 2008-02-10