Italrugby comes close to achieving the feat against England: the Azzurri start strong, but surrender 24-27

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By John

England beat Italy 27-24 at the Olimpico in the first match of the 2024 Six Nations. It was a hard-fought match that the Azzurri led throughout the first half, which ended at 17-14. In the end there are 4 points for England, one for Italy. Borthwick’s team came out at a distance, asserting their physical superiority and closing the match with Ford’s kicks. In the final, however, Italy found a great reaction by scoring the goal with Ioane which is worth the defensive bonus. “I liked that we showed good character especially in the first half. A little less the fact that we had problems getting the ball in our hands and Italy needs the ball. However, we highlighted a good base on which to work starting next week” the words of the Italian coach Quesada at the end of the match. At the start it is Italy who pushes, first with a tricky kick from Paolo Garbisi which puts Ford in difficulty, then with a nice charge from Menoncello in mid-field. In the 5th minute Allan punishes the English indiscipline from the pitch, then in the 11th minute Paolo Garbisi again inspires a splendid hole from Brex which opens the way for Lorenzo Cannone, who is good at fixing his opponent and serving the onrushing Alessandro Garbisi at the right time who he stops – almost in a footballing way – with his foot and flies between the posts: 10-0.

The Borthwick team responds by closing the distance with Ford from the pitch, then in the 20th minute they find the goal with a great pass by Freeman who opens up the opposing defense and serves Daly who marks at the flag. Ford doesn’t convert and Italy remains ahead. Quesada’s team holds up well in defense and strikes again at the first opportunity: Paolo Garbisi opens up to Brex and receives the ball with a loop, widens to Allan who in turn serves Menoncello on the run: Allan himself follows the action, receives the oval again and scores the second try. England reacts and puts the Italian defense on the ropes, then Freeman avoids Menoncello’s tackle but comes up short: Italy holds on and in the end Ford settles for 3 points for 17-11. In the 37th minute the midfielder repeats the score to make it 17-14, the score with which the first half ends. In the second half, England started very strongly, pushing with the charges of Roots and Earl and with the devastating speed of Freeman: the Italian defense still held up well, but succumbed to the invention of Alex Mitchell who started from the base of the group, avoided 2 tackles and marks the goal of England’s first lead. In the 54th minute Ford extends from the pitch for +7.