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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 05:18 GMT
England look to overpower Italy
RBS Six Nations | England v Italy | Twickenham | 9 March 2003 | 1500 GMT

Exclusively live and interactive on BBC1, with commentary on BBC Five Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website

New captain Jonny Wilkinson pictured at a pre-match news conference
New captain Jonny Wilkinson will be aiming for a big win
England continue their quest for an elusive Grand Slam with a home banker against Italy on Sunday in the RBS Six Nations.

Italy, who had only won once before in the championship, may have shocked Wales in their opening match and they are an improving side.

But they should present little trouble for England, despite the hosts' less-than-impressive form this year.

England have failed to hit the heights they achieved during the November internationals, when they beat the Southern Hemisphere big three.

But they have won both their matches, against France and Wales, so far.

With captain courageous Martin Johnson out injured, fly-half Jonny Wilkinson takes the England reins for the first time.

He will be playing with his third scrum-half in three matches as Matt Dawson replaces Kyran Bracken, while the other un-enforced change sees Mike Tindall return in the centre.

He will play at outside centre, with the in-form Will Greenwood moving inside in place of Charlie Hodgson.

England coach Clive Woodward also makes four changes because of injury.

In the forwards Danny Grewcock comes in for Johnson in the second row, while Joe Worsley comes into the back row for Neil Back.

In the backs Josh Lewsey will make his first home start in place of full-back Jason Robinson and James Simpson-Daniel takes over from Ben Cohen on the wing.

Despite missing 12 players England should prove too strong for the Italians, who will be without veteran fly-half Diego Dominguez.


Former All Black John Kirwan has got the Azzurri playing with more fire and passion, but they are still limited in a number of positions.

Big winning margin

In a way England are in a no-win situation.

If they win handsomely Italy will be written off as a poor side, but if they struggle to a narrow victory the disquiet that has followed England's two wins so far will grow louder.

The hosts should win by a bare minimum of 20 points, and if they can do it with a bit if style all-the-better, but England's biggest goal at the moment remains the Grand Slam.

And any victory is vital as they continue their march to the expected showdown away to Ireland in the last match of the championship.

England: Lewsey; Simpson-Daniel, Greenwood, Tindall, Luger; Wilkinson (capt), Dawson; Rowntree, Thompson, Morris, Grewcock, Kay, J Worsley, Hill, Dallaglio.
Replacements: Regan, M Worsley, Shaw, A Sanderson, Bracken, Hodgson, Smith.

Italy (from): Mu Bergamasco, Palmer, Castrogiovanni, De Carli, De Rossi, Festuccia, Bortolami, Bezzi, Persico, Phillips, Giacheri, Ongaro, Lo Cicero, Dallan, Martinez, Troncon, Raineri, Vaccari, Mi Bergamasco, Peens, Pez, Mazzucato, Mazzantini, Masi


Head to Head - All-Time

  • Played 8
  • England won 8
  • Italy won 0

Head to Head - Twickenham

  • Played 4
  • England won 4

Head to Head - Last 3 Encounters

  • 2002 Italy 9-45 England
  • 2001 England 80-23 Italy
  • 2000 Italy 12-59 England

  • England 184pts (average: 61.33pts) Italy 44pts (average: 14.67 pts)

    Biggest win (points)

    • England 80-23 2001 Twickenham Italy no wins

    Biggest win (margin)

    • England 67-7 1999 Twickenham (RWC) Italy no wins

    Most points in an International (win, lose or draw)

    • England 80-23 2001 Twickenham
    • Italy 23-80 2001 Twickenham

    Last 3 Internationals

    • 22.02.03 Wales 9 England 26
    • 15.02.03 England 25 France 17
    • 23.11.02 England 53 South Africa 3


    • 22.02.03 Italy 13 Ireland 37
    • 15.02.03 Italy 30 Wales 22
    • 23.11.02 Italy 3 Australia 34

    England at Twickenham
    Since RWC99 loss to NZ

    • Played 19
    • Won 19
    • Points 899-269
    • Average points per game: 47.31 to 14.15
    • Tries 98-25
    • Average tries per game: 5.15 to 1.32
    • (this is a world record for one venue)

    Italy in Six Nations

    • Played 17
    • Won 2
    • Drawn 0
    • Lost 15
    • Points 325-677 (average per match: 19.1 to 39.8)

    World's leading points scorers

    • 1090 Neil Jenkins (Wales (1049 Wales, 41 Lions)
    • 1010 Diego Dominguez (983 Italy, 27 Argentina)
    • 932 Andrew Mehrtens (NZ)
    • 911 Michael Lynagh (Australia)
    • 833 Matthew Burke (Australia)
    • 733 Gavin Hastings (667 Scotland, 66 Lions)
    • 656 Jonny Wilkinson (620 England, 36 Lions)

    Jason Leonard
    Caps for one country

    • Philippe Sella France 111
    • David Campese Australia 101
    • Jason Leonard England 100
    • (Leonard has also played 5 times for British Lions in tests)

    Information Supplied by Computacenter - the official data and statistics partner of the RBS Six Nations Championship

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