Two out of two away wins for the new look Stuart Lancaster English rugby team. Though they were against the two weakest sides in the Six Nations.
I said after the victory over the jocks if the Italians played like they did against France in the opening week they could finally get that first win over England. They didn’t really because it could have happened as England played pretty much as they did in the previous game. There for the taking.
It was just sloppy play and luck that gave Italy their two tries. Another piece of luck got England back into it, from Charlie’s charge down try. Second in two games. Still doesn’t mean he had a good game and this is where the two teams were pretty evenly matched the starting half-back pairs. The main difference happened when they both made changes and it was only then England came out on top.
A four point England victory could have been oh so different if the Italian coach hadn’t changed his number 10 Burton as the replacement Botes completely butchered two pretty easy penalty kicks – that you feel Burton would have slotted. But then Burton didn’t exactly set the world alight with his all-round play. Much like his counterpart. Though Charlie isn’t England’s biggest problem it’s the other half of the nine ten combination. Ben Youngs. What has happened to Youngs? What ever it is it was highlighted when the change came and he was hooked for Dickson. The difference was immediate and so very noticeable.
Where Youngs was slow to the breakdown – early on he was responsible for two completely dull moments, not paying attention as the ball appeared out of the ruck/maul – he’s slow away from the breakdown. A couple of steps before the pass is sent in such a manner the receiver is stopped in their track. No zip whatsoever, everything is just bogged down. Then enter Dickson and the ball is pinged away and England were finally on the front foot. Added to that were the breaking runs of Morgan who also came on as a sub.
These two have to start the next game, which is going to be a little harder than the two that have gone so far. They’ll also have to do something about a defence that looks flimsy. But at least their not giving up stupid penalties and yellow cards that happened so often under Johnson was absent for another game.