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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 12 May 2021


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Italy 15-19 England

Hello, and welcome to our liveblog of the first Six Nations game of the weekend.

And we’re underway…

Here are the two line-ups for today:

ITALY: 15-Andrea Masi, 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 12-Gonzalo Canale, 11-Luke McLean, 10-Kris Burton, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrea Lo Cicero, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-Quintin Geldenhuys, 5-Marco Bortolami, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Robert Barbieri, 8-Sergio Parisse (capt) Replacements: 16-Tommaso D’Apice, 17-Lorenzo Cittadini, 18-Antonio Pavanello, 19-Mauro Bergamasco, 20-Fabio Semenzato, 21-Tobias Botes, 22-Luca Morisi

ENGLAND: 15-Ben Foden, 14-Chris Ashton, 13-Brad Barritt, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-David Strettle, 10-Charlie Hodgson, 9-Ben Youngs; 1-Alex Corbisiero, 2-Dan Cole, 3-Dylan Hartley, 4-Mouritz Botha, 5-Tom Palmer, 6-Tom Croft , 7-Chris Robshaw (capt), 8-Phil Dowson Replacements: 16-Rob Webber, 17-Matt Stevens, 18-Geoff Parling, 19-Ben Morgan, 20-Lee Dickson, 21-Jordan Turner-Hall, 22-Mike Brown

England launch their first foray into the opposition’s 22, before a sloppy pass leads to a knock-on, giving Italy a penalty.

As you can tell from the main article image, the conditions in the Stadio Olimpico are far from ideal – a factor that many commentators believe will help the Italians.

And just as I typed that last post, the ball slipped out of Edoardo Gori’s hand as he tried to pick it up, as the conditions affect play for the first (and probably not the last) time today.

Italy will be disappointed, as it was a promising attack inside the English 22 there.

Hmm… Something very bizarre has just happened – the BBC commentary appears to be playing over the RTÉ TV stream… Unless there’s something wrong with my TV, which I doubt very much.

Italy are holding their own so far, and have arguably been the better team. Do we have a repeat of last year’s famous victory over France on our hands?

A dangerous kick by Burton is superbly caught by Ashton insides his 22, and he subsequently clears it.

The RTÉ commentary is back by the way, following that brief anomaly.

Still no sign of the game’s first score, though Italy continue to look like the better team.

Tommaso Benvenuti drops the ball and Parisse trips Strettle as he runs to gather it. PENALTY FOR ENGLAND!

3-0: Farrell makes no mistake with his first penalty attempt and England take the lead, though it’s slightly against the run of play.

Again, Italy knock-on at a vital moment. They haven’t really been clinical enough in attack so far, despite being the better side in this opening half, and consequently find themselves behind.

Meanwhile, Castrogiovanni has had to go off due to injury, and he is replaced by Lorenzo Cittadini.

Castrogiovanni was holding his side as he walked off, after he injured himself diving into a ruck.

It seemed innocuous, though it was obviously worse than it looked.

6-0 to ENGLAND: Farrell continues his 100% record.


Giovanbattista Venditti dives over, as Italy produce a swift response. Kris Burton’s disappointing conversion attempt goes wide.


A shocking pass from Foden allows Benvenuti to intercept and run in under the posts unopposed. Burton gets the conversion, which is straight under the posts.


Based on the majority of that first half, it  has to be said that the Italians’ lead is well deserved. They were the far more adventurous of the two sides.

The second half has begun…

PENALTY FOR ITALY! Tom Croft is adjudged to have blocked the run of Parisse after Italy launched a Garryowen.

15-6: Burke adds to Italy’s advantage, and is subsequently replaced by Botes.


Charlie Hodgson charges down Andrea Masi’s kick and runs over for an easy try. Owen Farrell continues his 100% record with an excellent conversion.

PENALTY FOR ENGLAND! Italy are their own worst enemy at the moment, as they are penalised for their ill-discipline once again.

16-15: England re-take the lead courtesy of another excellent penalty from Farrell. He is delivering a performance of which his predecessor, Jonny Wilkinson, would be proud.

The BBC report that Ben Youngs was “disgruntled” following his substitution, which took place just prior to Farrell’s last penalty.

Botes’ kick is charged down on his own try line, but much to his relief, the ref blows the whistle, owing to a previous English infringement.

19-15: The Italians are penalised for collapsing the scrum, and Farrell kicks another successful penalty from straight in front of the posts.

Straight from the re-start, the Italians win a penalty, but Botes misses, with a woeful attempt that goes well wide.

10 minutes remaining, as England have possession just outside their 22.

Another woeful attempt from Botes, as Italy again miss a penalty. They may well be regretting taking off Kris Burton right now.

Parisse has been announced as the man of the match, but it looks like it’ll only be a consolation prize for the Italians.


Italy will wonder how they lost that game. Individual errors and missed penalties have ultimately cost them dearly.

England, in contrast, were far from convincing, but did what was required of them nonetheless.

Okay, that’s it from me. I’m off to liveblog the GAA now. My colleague Niall Kelly will also be liveblogging the Ireland game shortly. Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy