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Twickenham - 10 February, 2007
Six Nations Blog | Your photos Video podcast


By Charlie Henderson

Next up for England is a trip to Dublin and Ireland's new temporary home of Croke Park in a fortnight. On this evidence Italy will travel to Scotland on the same day hopeful of picking up a first away victory in the Six Nations.

"We needed to see much more control from the forwards. They are the guys who raise the intensity in a game and from one to eight there just wasn't enough hard running and control from the England pack. England have to work incredibly hard. There was very little cohesion out there."
Jeremy Guscott, BBC Sport pundit

"They had a game plan which kept them in the match. Had they kicked better they would have been in the game at the end."
Injured England player Joe Worsley

1516: Alessandro Troncon sports a big smile as he collects his bottle of champagne. England supremo Rob Andrew looks stern in the stands.

80 mins: FULL-TIME England 20-7 Italy
Nigel Owens blows his whistle for a lineout not being straight which seems an apt way for the match to finish. The Welshman certainly thinks so as he then blows for full-time. The crowd barely muster a round of applause, and most of that must surely be for the Italians. Back to the drawing board for England.

79 mins: One minute to go. Thank goodness.

78 mins: BBC Sport summariser Brian Moore plumps for Italy's Alessandro Troncon as Man of the Match and the bald Italian is directing things for the visitors from the base of the scrum as Italy look to end the match on a high.

77 mins: Italy are playing all the rugby and they can sense a second score... until they spill the ball in midfield.

76 mins: The Twickenham crowd show what they think of things. It is Mexican Wave time. If the action was absorbing you can bet that would not be happening. Nick Easter makes way for Tom Rees in the back row.

75 mins: PENALTY England 20-7 Italy
Points on the board for England after Italy join a ruck from the side. That man Jonny Wilkinson is on target with a penalty.

72 mins: England steal Italian ball at a lineout in Itay's 22. Lee Mears scrambles across the gain line but the ball is then hacked clear by an Italian boot.

70 mins: Italy are stoical in defence and England opt for a drop goal to increase their lead. Jonny Wilkinson does not find the sweet spot on his left boot and the effort drops short.

"The key against a team like Italy is to move the ball away from the point of tackle. England need to start shifting it quickly before their defence has a chance to re-align."
Austin Healey, BBC Sport pundit

69 mins: A mass of changes for England. Julian White, Lee Mears and Tom Palmer are on, with George Chuter, Perry Freshwater and Danny Grewcock going off. Valerio Bernabo replaces Santiago Dellape in Italy's second row.

68 mins: That is more like it from England. Josh Lewsey picks and goes with a quick penalty in the Italian half but England are pushed wide and the danger is smothered by Italian defenders on their right.

66 mins: England make a change. Mike Tindall is off with a dead leg and Toby Flood is on.

65 mins: TRY & CONVERSION England 17-7
England are not in Italy's half for long as the visitors break down the left. Josh Sole can smell the chance of a try as he recieves in space only to be hauled down by Mathew Tait. But quick recycling and Andrea Scanavacca scoots in under the posts before adding the conversion himself.

64 mins: Italy do nothing with it and holding on in the tackle means England can clear. George Chuter and Louis Deacon combine at the lineout which means the hosts get in Italy's half. They have spent only 30% of this half up that end.

63 mins: For a veteran Alessandro Troncon shows great speed, closing down Jonny Wilkinson's clearance kick which barely reaches the five-metre line. Another attacking opportunity for Italy.

62 mins: Alessandro Troncon looks for an inch of space around the fringes but is closed out, before a knock-on gives England the chance to clear from a scrum on their own line.

61 mins: A thumping Italy clearance and England are back in their own 22. From the drop-out the visitors gather and up the tempo. They work space and Josh Sole is almost through before being tackled short of the line by Mike Tindall.

"The game's frustrating. England are trying to up the tempo and Italy are making it difficult for them. It's not much of a spectacle."
Injured England player Dan Ward-Smith

59 mins: A crescendo of noise greets an England break on the right through Jonny Wilkinson and Mathew Tait. They maintain possession and after nine phases earn a scrum midway inside the Italian half on the left.

57 mins: Andrea Scanavacca and Gonzalo Canale get their knickers in a twist and let a howitzer of a clearance from Andy Farrell bounce between them and out to touch. The tattoed one Andrea Lo Cicero is replaced by Salvatore Perugini.

55 mins: PENALTY England 17-0 Italy Italy coach Pierre Berbizier throws his arms out with a Gallic flourish as his side concede a contentious penalty for being offside just inside their own half. Jonny Wilkinson slots the kick.

"Italy's forwards have matched the England pack and deserve real credit for the way they are taking the game to them.
Brian Moore, BBC Sport summariser

53 mins: Here we go. Italy drive forward before spreading the ball, but just as the pulse quickens Matteo Pratichetti coughs up the ball on the left wing. That was Italy's downfall last week.

52 mins: A wonky lineout throw gifts Italy possession on halfway. What can they do with it? Kick forward for Jason Robinson to claim a mark, that's what.

51 mins: The BBC TV boys have started drawing shapes on the pitch detailing where England should kick the ball. Brian Ashton looks glum in the stands.

50 mins: Andrea Lo Cicero's socks are down and reveal a tattoo on his right calf and shin. Now there's a new option for David Beckham. Bet he hasn't got one there.

49 mins: This match is dull. No wonder the crowd are silent.

47 mins: England concede a penalty on halfway as they rumble forward for failing to release. Andrea Scanavacca is on target this time, but his effort falls short. Zip from two for the number 10.

45 mins: Italy, without second row Marco Bortolami remember, are driven back by England.

44 mins: Former England captain Martin Corry was on a drip for 24 hours earlier in the week as he had an infection in his arm. He also got a text off Leicester team-mate and Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni saying "I'm going to kill you on Saturday!" Nice. Wonder what the reply will be?

43 mins: Scrappy stuff around halfway before Gonzalo Canale tackles Martin Corry into touch in England's 22 after a grubber kick down the line.

42 mins: Here comes a rendition of Swing Low... maybe that will get everyone going.

41 mins: Tame on the pitch and very tame off it. The Twickenham crowd are close to silent.

1429: Here we go.

1426: Italy troop out for the second half with Alessandro Troncon urging his team-mates on with a brisk hand clap. And here come England.

"For half-time entertainment, two fly-halves from the RFU academy are going through some goal-kicking practice on a big stage while the crowd are being asked to put them under pressure by booing them. Quite."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac

"It's too easy to bulk up the points on penalties as most modern kickers can score from the halfway line - it's spoiling the game. Thank heavens England just scored a try - although it took a dubious yellow card to give them the advantage!"
Russell Thorpe, via e-mail

"I'm a little bit disappointed with the first half and the Italians have come to shut the game down and not take any risks. They want to strangle England and it has worked to an extent. But if you come with those plans you are always going to lose."
Injured England player Joe Worsley

"After the first half of the England game a part of me starts to wonder whether the BBC coverage is funded by the royal family. How many shots of the two princes did we have to endure in the first 40 minutes?"
Chris, via e-mail

The half-time stats suggest Italy are going to tire in the second 40 when you look at the tackle count. England have made 14 compared to Italy's 41.

40 mins: HALF-TIME England 14-0 Italy
Pretty one-sided and the late try was greeted with a punched fist by Prince William. The watching Kate Middleton and Prince Harry were up off their feet along with the majority of the 82,000 crowd.

39 mins: TRY England 14-0 Italy
Another England lineout and again the forwards probe for an opening before the backs work a score. It is spread right to left, quick hands from Josh Lewsey flicking the ball on to the wing and Jason Robinson picks it up on the bounce before sliding over in the corner. Jonny Wilkinson fails with the extras.

37 mins: A huge forward effort, crabbing this way and t'other looking for a weakness, The referee blows up and Marco Bortolami is sent to the sin bin. Iain Balshaw also leaves the pitch with a groin injury, to be replaced by Mathew Tait. Josh Lewsey goes to full-back.

35 mins: An England lineout on the Italian line but George Chuter gets his geometry wrong as Italy claim it at the tail. A let off. England get a penalty with Nick Easter pushed out of the line and England go for the corner.

34 mins: This is a good platform for England as they spin the ball left and then back right. Mike Tindall is tackled just short of the line by Roland de Marigny. They clear - just.

32 mins: Another up-and-under from Italy but Iain Balshaw gathers. Although his kick isn't all that great England build on it until Santiago Dellape gives away a penalty. Too far from goal for Jonny Wilkinson this time.

31 mins: Italy are back in the England half as Martin Corry requires attention to that cut on his nose which always opens up when he plays rugby.

28 mins: Italy are enjoying a lot of time in the England half but cannot really get anything going. Gonzalo Canale looks to squeeze through on the right but knocks on and the ball is in touch.

27 mins: Roland de Marigny tests England with a good high kick, but Jonny Wilkinson jumps well as if off a trampoline to gather and the hosts relieve any pressure.

"The Italians have run out of ideas and England are putting in some big hits around the fringes. And not only because of what England are doing, the tank will empty very quickly for the Italians."
Matt Dawson, Five Live pundit

26 mins: Problems for Italy as the stretcher comes on for winger Denis Dallan who has twisted his ankle. Matteo Pratichetti comes on.

24 mins: PENALTY England 9-0 Italy
Welcome to the 900-club Jonny Wilkinson. The Englishman slots a penalty from just wide of the posts on the left and now has 900 points in Test rugby (including Lions matches), a feat only achieved before by Neil Jenkins, Diego Dominguez, Andrew Mehrtens and Michael Lynagh.

23 mins: Here is a chance for Jonny Wilkinson as Italy hold on to the ball after Jason Robinson scrags Kaine Robertson.

21 mins: Italy claim the ball at the lineout and they work a good position, but Denis Dallan cannot find a way through the thick white line of English defence as he looks to get on the end of Roland de Marigny's grubber kick.

20 mins: A dirge like rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot as Italy's Ramiro Pez pings a penalty down to the England corner flag. That is Pez's last contribution before making way for the returning Andrea Scanavacca.

19 mins: Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. Italy nose into the England half with a kick from substitute Ramiro Pez. Jonny Wilkinson soon replies with a kick of his own and it is back into the Italian half.

17 mins: England motor over halfway with a series of quick, short passes between Iain Balshaw, Mike Tindall and Jason Robinson, but that route is soon blocked off by a flood of blue shirts.

16 mins: From the re-start Italy have a chance to test England's defence. It all gets a bit scrappy after the visitors throw up a high ball and the hosts can relieve pressure with a lineout and a Harry Ellis box kick down the right touchline.

14 mins: PENALTY England 6-0 Italy
The penalty is straight and true from Jonny Wilkinson. That is 850 points in England colours for the 27-year-old.

12 mins: Still the hosts maintain possession, but Italy are tenacious in the tackle and are playing with a thou shalt not pass mentality until they concede a penalty. Cue the England number 10.

11 mins: England look to be finding their feet as they turn up the pressure and the tempo.

9 mins: England are in the Italian half and Jonny Wilkinson launches a high up-and-under, but Kaine Robertson - a good Italian name - claims it well and Italy clear after his mark.

8 mins: Italy do not level. Veteran fly-half Andrea Scanavacca pushes his effort from wide on the left wide of the posts.

7 mins: After a sedate spell, Josh Lewsey injects some pace, racing out from his own 22. But England fail to escape Italian clutches and George Chuter gives a penalty away and Italy can level.

5 mins: The east stand at Twickenham is basking in milky sun as the game settles down. Italy have recovered from that early set back and are enjoying a spell in England territory.

3 mins: PENALTY England 3-0 Italy
Jonny Wilkinson becomes the leading scorer in Five/Six Nations history with 409 points as he slots from close to halfway after Italy concede a penalty from the second scrum of the match.

2 mins: A first scrum and Italy, sporting an all new front-row with Andrea Lo Cicero, Carlo Festuccia, Martin Castrogiovanni show well before Harry Ellis harries Sergio Parisse into a mistake.

1332 GMT: Jonny Wilkinson gets things going.


1329: A belting rendition of God Save the Queen, a bit dour in comparison, before the players strip off their tracksuit tops ready for action.

1327: Italy may not travel well in the Six Nations, but their rousing national anthem does. Their teams shows seven changes, and a return for veteran scrum-half Alessandro Troncon.

1326: And here come England to a huge roar. Former Gloucester player Phil Vickery, now with Wasps, leads them out.

1325: Italy run out led by skipper Marco Bortolami, who plays his club rugby for Gloucester.

1324: Twickenham is full to bursting, the pitch is covered in flags (four English, one red rose and one Italian emblem) and the teams are in the tunnel.

"I'm an Englishman who likes football but I'm stuck down here in south Wales where everyone is gripped by rugby fever. I'm trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid it all! Anyway, good luck Wilko (that's his name right?) and the lads!"
Craig, via e-mail in Monmouth

"Andy Farrell needs a bigger game and I think he can step up. He needs to play like Will Greenwood did."
Austin Healy, BBC Sport pundit

"All join in now... the stirring "Land of Hope and Glory" rings around the stadium to get us all in the mood. However, Elgar's epic is followed by the Scissor Sisters hit "I Don't Fell Like Dancing", two songs you rarely hear being played back-to-back.
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac

"I'm serenely sailing through the Beagle Channel, the scenery is magnificent and hopes are high for further improvements in England's rugby fortunes after the dismal recent past! Hopes are also high that we don't lose the satellite link!
Paul, via e-mail onboard the Minerva 2 off Chile

"There's a little bit of nasty in Nick Easter, but he will be part of a pack that needs to dominate this game. We are not going to see flash rugby today.
Jeremy Guscott, BBC Sport pundit, on England debutant

"Gavin in Brazil, I know the feeling. I spent last Saturday here in Japan spending hours aimlessly trying to find the game in various dens of iniquity - no chance if you aren't in Tokyo. Gave up and paid for a subscription service have just got connected - yesssssssssss. Just did Italy 49-7 on the BBC game. Anyone think that'll be the score today?"
Richard Sugg, via e-mail

"Just woken up here in Canada, ready for the game. It's not available on cable so I'll be glued to the BBC updates. Ooooh, I think I just saw a moose."
Nick Beresford, via e-mail

"Expect a battle up front. The Italians are some of the most powerful players in world rugby. Those first 20 minutes are key and England need to get dominance. If Italy get their tails up they can cause problems."
Matt Dawson, Five Live pundit

"I'm a radio presenter with the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS Radio), currently serving in Bosnia. I'm on air for another 10 minutes then I'm off to watch the England game with the English fans at the Aviation Detachment at the Banja Luka Metal Factory. Then, with the First Battallion Welsh Guards on tour here at the moment, I'll be in their Sergeant's Mess in my Scotland jersey. Should be interesting watching it with a couple of hundred Welsh Guardsmen! A big shout to the British Forces on operations around the world who I know will be doing their damnedest to tune in.
Brian Nero, via-e-mail

1300: With 30 minutes to go until the start of the action the England team jog out en masse for their warm-up.

"A brief resume of some of the marvellous sights I witnessed on the way to stadium: a random youngster walking along the street with an acoustic guitar, some ridiculous Italian wigs and a very committed bloke with a microphone and loudspeaker trying unsuccessfully to persuade us to save our souls."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac

"Anxiously awaiting the kick-off here in southern Germany, where we'll be watching the game on the French channel they kindly feed into our local cable network. The big question this week is how the commentators will handle the name "Chuter". Their pronunciation of "Gough" and "Dewey" last week was excellent.
Tony Tranter, via e-mail

"I live in Brazil and no-one understands rugby or my need to watch it. Needless to say there are no TV channels or radio stations covering the game."
Gavin Mooney, via e-mail in Sao Paulo

1248: Jonny Wilkinson has scored an average of 18 points whenever he has played against Italy so he should bag the nine he needs to pass 900 points scored in Test rugby. He will join Neil Jenkins (Wales), Diego Dominguez (Italy), Andrew Mehrtens (New Zealand) and Michael Lynagh (Australia) in the 900-club.

1247: And here's another one for the stattos. One successful kick at goal and Jonny Wilkinson will become the record points scorer in the Six Nations. He is presently tied on 406 points with the ginger genius Neil Jenkins, who played for Wales.

1243: A history lesson. England and Italy have met 12 times before and the men in white have won every time. Their average margin of victory is 33 points.

"Yes, England won against Scotland, but Scotland were very ordinary. Yes, England will beat Italy today, but again, they are a very ordinary side. Let's wait until we come up against decent opposition before lauding the change of coach."
Richard Berry, via e-mail

"Here's hoping that last week was not just a flash in the pan. England need to come out and win big today because the next game against Ireland may decide the Championship.
Mark Kidger, via e-mail at the Villafranca del Castillo Satellite Tracking Station Madrid

1228: England coach Brian Ashton passes the time of day with BBC pundit Jeremy Guscott on the touchline before showing a neat turn of foot, dashing off to his players on the pitch.

"I'm in Thailand and the only channel I can find that is showing the game is not showing it until Sunday morning at 9am! It's the website for me and let us see the continuing renaissance of English rugby!
Eric Erich, via e-mail in Thailand

"Walking through Twickenham town centre, the bars are full, the rain has stopped and the England supporters seem to be in an upbeat mood after last week's win over Scotland. It is not as cold as we expected, but it's still damp enough to make for some tricky handling."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac

1216: Out on the park a few players - English and Italian - are hoofing the ball around while others huddle together eyeing up their surroundings in front of a handful of supporters.

1209: A fair few of that Italian squad are sporting blue beanies as well, and it is not surprising considering the weather. It is a dank and dreary day in south west London. Hopefully the rugby will give it some colour.

1206: And in the bowels of the stadium the Italian squad are filing into the room marked 'Visiting Team' wearing garish bright blue tracksuits emblazoned with 'ITALIA'. Suited coach Pierre Berbizier brings up the rear.

1200 GMT: Just 90 minutes to go until kick-off and the atmosphere is building at Twickenham.

The Barbour brigade are popping champagne and dipping into a gravadlax in the car park while the kegs are being drunk dry in the pubs around the ground.

But where are you? Why not let us know how you are building up to the whistle, what you have spotted on your way to the match or wherever you are going to watch it and how you think the game will go.


England: Iain Balshaw; Josh Lewsey, Mike Tindall, Andy Farrell, Jason Robinson; Jonny Wilkinson, Harry Ellis; Perry Freshwater, George Chuter, Phil Vickery (capt), Louis Deacon, Danny Grewcock, Nick Easter, Magnus Lund, Martin Corry.
Replacements: Lee Mears, Jason White, Tom Palmer, Tom Rees, Peter Richards, Toby Flood, Mathew Tait.

Italy: Roland De Marigny; Kaine Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Denis Dallan; Andrea Scanavacca, Alessandro Troncon; Andrea Lo Cicero, Carlo Festuccia, Martin Castrogiovanni, Santiago Dellape, Marco Bortolami (capt), Josh Sole, Maurizio Zaffiri, Sergio Parisse
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Salvatore Perugini, Valerio Bernabo, Roberto Mandelli, Paul Griffen, Ramiro Pez, Matteo Pratichetti.

England 20-7 Italy
10 Feb 07 |  English
Injured Moody out of Six Nations
08 Feb 07 |  English
Veteran Troncon recalled by Italy
08 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
England 42-20 Scotland
03 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Italy 3-39 France
03 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Your rugby questions answered
30 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union

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