Fortunately England still have the chance of the…

…Grand Slam.

Get the funny feeling that’s all they were thinking about when the little matter of an Italian side could quite have easily spoiled the party.

Or it could have just been Toby Flood.

No matter what you think Stuart Lancaster has brought to this England side watching this game there’s still a feeling that they do look down on certain games. “Just have to turn up” syndrome. It just looked that way against an Italian side who are desperate to get off that winless streak against England. And came damn close to doing it.

Bet Jim Telfer almost had a huge shit eating grin on his phizog.

All the old traits were back. No form, no structure, no composure, butchering good try scoring opportunities, making the wrong decisions nearly every time. Need to kick, pass. Need to pass, either hold on or kick away.

Only thing missing from the bad old days was the penalties. Hardly gave away any penalties, only five in total, which for England under that pressure in the second half is quite remarkable. No really stupid ones and very few that could result in points against. While England kicked there’s.

My god Toby Flood didn’t bottle them. Though useless in his attempts to find touch from England penalties and seemingly clueless in open play. How many times can I post about this surely being the final nail in the coffin of Flood’s international career? Inept flouncy performance after inept flouncy performance yet he’s still there and they still think he’s competing with Farrell for the number 10 shirt.

How? Why?

Instead of bringing back this failure time and again, in a game like this why not move Alex Goode up fly-half, stick a new winger on the left and move Mike Brown to fullback. Anything is preferable than Flood being on the pitch. It can’t have helped Danny care’s chances of replacing Youngs with that as his half-back partner.

For all the new thinking of Lancaster this is a tired old cliché of team selection.

Still they hung on but Welsh Wales away is a different prospect with a Grand Slam on the line. As much as Italy wanted to get off the snide at Twickenham the Taffs will want to stop their old enemy winning the 6 Nations championship with a clean sweep in their own back yard.

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