England bring back Te'o for Italy opener

05 February, 2018, 06:47 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • Courtney Lawes says England will take nothing for granted when they face Italy in the Six Nations

Jack Nowell labelled Sam Simmonds "a freak" after his brilliant Six Nations debut on Sunday, with the No 8 taking full advantage of England's back-row injury problems to bag his first two tries in worldwide rugby in the 46-15 defeat of Italy.

World Cup victor Lewis Moody is confident the introduction of Sam Simmonds will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the England back row during the 2018 Six Nations.

The only negative note for England was an injury to Ben Youngs.

The Exeter Chiefs back-rower also assisted a late Jack Nowell try, which came following a brace from winger Anthony Watson and one try apiece for Owen Farrell and George Ford.

England wasted no time in stamping their authority on the contest, Ben Te'o, Farrell, Ford and Jonny May involved in a slick move which was rounded off by Watson in the corner inside three minutes.

The winners of the last two wooden spoons were refreshingly positive and replied with two tries of their own from Tommaso Benvenuti and Mattia Bellini with Tommaso Allan kicking a conversion and penalty.

Ben Te'o will make his first England appearance in almost a year after being selected at outside centre in the defending champions' Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

It's a record which, for Moody, shows that the format of the Six Nations needs to change with relegation to a second-tier tournament introduced sooner rather than later. There are still problems with England's back-row balance and they were troubled by an Italy trio that, as well as Sergio Parisse, contained two players who had three caps between them before kick-off.

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Farrell's hard conversion from the right touchline hit the post and stayed out. The Leicester nine was stretchered off, with his screams heard around the stadium.

He was replaced by Danny Care, who became England's joint most-capped scrum half with Dawson on 77 caps.

There was to be no repeat this time around and Italy lost its 13th successive Six Nations match.

Watson's electric pace down the right proved too much for the Italians again on 12 minutes as England were quick to brush off the disappointment of the Youngs blow.

The Azzurri managed to reduce the deficit midway through the half.

Italy's Tommaso Boni had a try chalked off for a forward pass following a video review early in the second half.

Allan added the extras and the gap was down to just three points. With Italy's defence at sixes and sevens, Farrell scooted through a big hole to score his sixth try in 54 Tests. The sides went in at the break with the vistors 17-10 ahead.

Simmonds topped England's tackle count with a mightily impressive 23; he scored two tries that no other back-row on the pitch would even have thought about finishing, made the most metres and the joint most carries.

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