Italy travel to Twickenham this weekend still looking for their first RBS 6 Nations win at headquarters. However, they are better equipped to challenge the Red Rose than they were on their first visit in the competition back in 2001.
On that day – 17th February – an England side that were two years away from a glorious Rugby World Cup win steamrolled their opposition by a whopping 80 points to 23. The England side that day reads like a Hall of Fame roll call, including Greenwood, Catt, Cohen, Wilkinson, Dawson, Johnson and Dallaglio, so perhaps it was little wonder the Italians found life difficult.
The game started so well for Italy that there was little sign of the record-breaking blitz to come. On just five minutes, winger Denis Dallan went over in the corner, and when Andrea Scanavacca converted for 0-7, an upset to beat all upsets was on the cards.
Tries were traded back and forth and Italy retook the lead in the 27th minute when a Scanavacca penalty found it’s mark to make the scores 20-20. However a late-half surge saw England go in at the break with 33-23 lead.
From that point on it was all about England in a half full of tries, and a notable International debut for Jason Robinson. England took advantage of a 14-man Italy to score three tries in 20 minutes, meaning Wilkinson could even afford to miss his first kick of the afternoon on the stroke of full-time.
This weekend’s game promises to be a much tighter affair than 14 years ago. But buoyed by last week’s win in Cardiff, England will fancy themselves to make another mark on this year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship.
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The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. It is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The 2015 RBS 6 Nations tournament is the first time that the same match ball will be used in every single match. The Match-XV, the Rugby World Cup 2015 match ball represents the pinnacle of rugby ball technology. With it’s enhanced grip properties and consistency of manufacture, it is undoubtedly the finest piece of rugby ball technology ever produced.
Round 1 Results:
06/02/2015 20:05 WALES 16 - 21 ENGLAND Millennium Stadium
07/02/2015 15:30 ITALY 3 - 26 IRELAND Stadio Olimpico
07/02/2015 18:00 FRANCE 15 - 8 SCOTLAND Stade de France