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England Overcome Slow Start to Beat Italy in Six Nations Opener

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England Overcome Slow Start To Beat Italy In Six Nations Opener

England made a victorious start to their 2024 Six Nations campaign on Saturday, recovering from a scruffy start and a 17-8 deficit to beat Italy 27-24 in their opening rugby union game in Rome, ending a run of four successive opening-round defeats in the championship.

Italy flew out of the blocks with a Tommaso Allan penalty and a well-created try for Alessandro Garbisi, and though Elliot Daly hit back for England, their new-look side looked disorganised, not least when Allan flew through for the hosts’ second try.

Two George Ford penalties closed the gap to 17-14 at half-time, somewhat flattering for England, but they took control in the second period, starting when scrum half Alex Mitchell showed great determination to claim their second try.

Ford’s boot stretched the lead and more aggressive defence kept Italy at bay until Monty Ioane broke through for a converted try in added time to earn Italy a losing bonus point.

Steve Borthwick will know that big improvement is needed as England prepare to face Wales at Twickenham next weekend, while next up for Italy is a daunting trip to face defending Grand Slam champions Ireland in Dublin.

Follow Italy vs England reaction live below, with expert analysis from Standard Sport’s rugby correspondent Nick Purewal at the Stadio Olimpico.

Rachel Adams

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