BBC Sport rugbyunion


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Saturday, 13 February 2010

Wilkinson wants England away form revival in Italy

Venue: Stadio Flaminio Date: Sunday, 14 February 2010 Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC HD channel, Red Button and online; listen on Radio 5 live sports extra; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles

Jonny Wilkinson makes a pass in training
Wilkinson and England have never lost at Rome's Stadio Flaminio

Jonny Wilkinson has urged England to end their poor Six Nations away form against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

England have yet to win away from home during Martin Johnson's reign, while their last Six Nations victory on the road was against France in 2008.

But after defeats in Scotland, New Zealand, Wales, Ireland and Argentina, Wilkinson wants to see the run finish.

"The team that wins the Six Nations is the one that wins away from home," said the Toulon fly-half.

"I'm involved in the French League at the moment and the teams that win the Top 14 are those that win away.

"It is about strength of mind. It is a mental and physical strength thing and it is very much a togetherness thing in the team.

"You have to take your game from somewhere you are familiar to somewhere you are not so familiar, where the conditions aren't exactly as you know them.

The scrummage is important along with the clear-out work and getting fatigue into the opposition is a key part

England manager Martin Johnson

"You have to impose your game on that environment. As opposed to letting that environment and that other team take you out."

Johnson, whose side defeated Wales 30-17 at Twickenham in their opening Six Nations match last Saturday, has prepared his players for a tough battle against Italy's forwards, featuring the likes of Martin Castrogiovanni, naming a full front row and two other forwards on his bench on Friday in expectation of a physical encounter.

Having decided to hand Leicester prop Dan Cole his first England start, Johnson opted to name hooker Steve Thompson, tight-head prop David Wilson and the uncapped Worcester loose-head Matt Mullan on his bench.

Leicester lock Louis Deacon and London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage complete a five-strong forwards contingent.

"The way we are going to play the front row is going to have to work very hard so it's good we have depth," said England's 2003 Grand Slam and World Cup-winning captain.

"The scrummage is important along with the clear-out work and getting fatigue into the opposition is a key part.

"We have picked an entire front row, which is the right call for this game. We know what we are getting into," Johnson added.

"We have done a 5-2 split before with two back rowers but never three front row forwards.

Riki Flutey
Flutey gets a feel of the ball under the watchful eye of Wilkinson (left)

"Whilst we don't want to go into a game that is solely about close-quarter work, that is a part of it. We shouldn't be afraid of our driving game and pick-and-go. It should be a part of our armoury."

Captain Steve Borthwick and his second-row colleague Simon Shaw have both recovered from illness while flanker Lewis Moody has shaken off a minor knock, while Riki Flutey lines up outside Wilkinson at inside centre.

England have never lost to Italy in the history of the Six Nations and a confidence-boosting win over Wales means the visitors will be overwhelming favourites to stretch their winning run to 16 matches against Nick Mallett's side.

"We haven't won away under the new manager and it would be a big fillip if we do get the result," said number eight Nick Easter.

"But we have spoken about the trench warfare, which is what it is going to be against the Italians.

"It might be a three-point game after 60 minutes, we just can't get frustrated. We have got to make sure we turn the pressure into points which occasionally we didn't do against Wales.

"People have heard it all before - pitch, ball, posts all the same - but we have got to make sure we get it right this week. If you want to win any tournament you have to win away from home - that is the fact of the matter.

John Jeffries

"We are hungry for success. English rugby has not succeeded for a long time - since 2003 - and you are in the game to win things.

"I am not getting any younger and there are a few other guys in the same situation and have had a frustrating two or three years in the set-up.

"Ultimately what you want to do is win things. Playing for England is great but you want to win in the white shirt."

As well as dealing with sickness in the camp, England's preparations have also been hampered with the heaviest snowfall to hit Rome in 25 years on Friday.

Johnson though is demanding his players continue their form and produce the goods regardless of weather conditions.

"There was a bit frustration and we trained well in the circumstances," he said. "There was snow on the ball when it was being passed and on the floor. It's a mental discipline more than anything.

"Attitude when we take the field away from home is a key factor. There is potentially an issue after a win of euphoria and getting carried away with yourself - but the mark of a good side is backing up one good performance and a victory with another."

Italy: Luke McLean; Andrea Masi, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi; Salvatore Perugini, Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), Martin Castrogiovanni, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami, Josh Sole, Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni.
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Matias Aguero, Valerio Bernabo, Paul Derbyshire, Pablo Canavosio, Riccardo Bocchino, Kaine Robertson.

England: Delon Armitage; Mark Cueto, Mathew Tait, Riki Flutey, Ugo Monye; Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Care; Tim Payne, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Simon Shaw, Steve Borthwick (capt), James Haskell, Lewis Moody, Nick Easter.
Replacements: Steve Thompson, David Wilson, Matthew Mullan, Louis Deacon, Steffon Armitage, Paul Hodgson, Toby Flood.

Print Sponsor

see also
Italy 12-17 England
14 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Italy Women 0-41 England Women
13 Feb 10 |  English
Cole delighted by England start
10 Feb 10 |  English
England pick Cole & recall Flutey
10 Feb 10 |  English
Italy recall Bortolami and Masi
12 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Win proof of progress - Wilkinson
07 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
England 30-17 Wales
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 29-11 Italy
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Jeremy Guscott's Six Nations Q&A
08 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations table
10 Aug 06 |  Tables

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.