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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 16:49 GMT
England overpower brave Italy

Josh Lewsey
Lewsey scored twice for England
England 40-5 Italy

England strolled to a six-try RBS Six Nations victory over Italy at Twickenham despite defending for most of the match.

Clive Woodward's side extended their winning streak at headquarters to 20 games, and stayed on course for a Grand Slam decider with Ireland on 30 March.

England raced to a 33-0 lead within 20 minutes but went into their shells as the plucky Italians dominated possession for over 50 minutes.

The home side scored tries through Josh Lewsey (2), Steve Thompson, James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall and Dan Luger.

But in a chaotic start to the second half they lost fly-half and captain Jonny Wilkinson with a sore shoulder and his replacement Charlie Hodgson with a leg injury.

England 40
Tries: Lewsey (2), Thompson, Simpson-Daniel, Tindall, Luger
Cons: Wilkinson (4), Dawson
Italy 5
Tries: Bergamasco

Italy scored a second-half consolation try through full-back Mirco Bergamasco but despite their possession, coach John Kirwan's side were never likely to trouble the Six Nations favourites.

England set off at a blistering pace and within two minutes they had put full-back Lewsey over in the left corner from an attacking lineout on the right.

Wilkinson converted and the home side soon scored again after opting to kick for touch from a penalty.

Number eight Lawrence Dallaglio and scrum-half Matt Dawson both sniped for the line before hooker Thompson squeezed over.

Italy were shellshocked and England came again inside three minutes when the backs combined to send over wing Simpson-Daniel after a perfectly timed pass from Lewsey.

We will have to up our game a couple of gears if we are to achieve our aims this year
England coach Clive Woodward

Wilkinson was again spot on with the extras and before Italy knew what was happening, England's Lewsey had made it four tries.

The Wasps player broke a tackle in midfield and motored 40 yards, teasing Bergamasco in the process, to score just to the left of the posts, which Wilkinson converted.

Italy had still barely touched the ball but England went over for a fifth try on 20 minutes through centre Tindall, who took an inside pass at pace from Lewsey to roar over.

But despite a 33-0 deficit, Italy dominated the rest of the half and went close through Aaron Persico and Bergamasco.

Two minutes after the break England lost Wilkinson, who went off with a sore shoulder, to be replaced by Hodgson.

But the Sale fly-half was in turn injured, ushering in 20-year-old Leicester centre Ollie Smith, with Will Greenwood switching to number 10 and former captain Dallaglio taking charge.

It is a young side and I thought they showed a lot of heart
Italy coach John Kirwan

Italy continued to attack, with England seemingly content to defend phase after phase.

Kirwan's side were eventually rewarded for their attacking efforts with a try in the corner from Bergamasco on the hour.

But after defending since the 20th minute, England scored a sixth try through Luger after a slick break from Smith.

And despite a merry-go-round of replacements, England were able to keep Italy at bay for the rest of the match without troubling the visitors' line themselves.


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

Italy: M. Bergamasco, Mazzucato, Vaccari, Raineri, Dallan, Pez, Troncon, De Carli, Festuccia, Martinez, Bezzi, Giacheri, De Rossi, Persico, Phillips.
Replacements: Ongaro, Castrogiovanni, Bortolami, Palmer, Mazzantini, Peens, Masi.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

England coach Clive Woodward
"Italy were in for a hiding, but we let them off the hook"


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