Waiting game for 6N title after England beat Italy 34-5
ROME (AP) — England ticked the boxes in beating Italy 34-5 with a bonus point on Saturday then had to wait to see if it was enough to win the Six Nations.
France and Ireland were playing the last match of the tournament in Paris less than 90 minutes after England-Italy with the trophy at stake.
Ireland could win the tournament if it beat France by seven points.
France could be crowned champion, too, but it needed to beat Ireland by 32 points with a bonus point.
England did what it needed to do on a balmy evening at Stadio Olimpico but it wasn’t the romp most predicted by a team which put 40-plus on Italy in its last three visits.
England dominated again but played the first half poorly, kicking away possession 22 times, and led only 10-5. It was much more intense and accurate after the break in scoring four tries. Owen Farrell landed four of his six goalkicks, hitting the post twice.
“We've done our job,” Farrell said. “I thought we went at them. But there was a large chunk of the first half when we couldn't get our hands on the ball, and we couldn't get our game on the field. We got the job done in the end.”
Scrumhalf Ben Youngs marked his 100th appearance with two tries and hooker Jamie George celebrated his 50th match with one of his own. Flanker Tom Curry got the all-important fourth with 13 minutes to go, and center Henry Slade added the last.
But they came up against an Italy side that was spirited and awkward, and stayed in touch through the first half thanks to a try by English-born No. 8 Jake Polledri.
Italy was outgunned in the end, and finished a fifth consecutive tournament without a win. Italy has lost a record 27 straight matches since its last win in 2015.
Things appeared to be going to plan when England scored the first try in the fifth minute. Farrell benefited from a decoy run to slice open the Italy defense and send Youngs to the posts.
But prop Kyle Sinckler spilled the ball, Italy’s Carlo Canna pounced, and Polledri scored in the corner.
England flanker Jonny Hill, on debut, then went to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Edoardo Padovani but Italy couldn’t take advantage.
Polledri was issued a yellow card for a professional foul just before halftime, and Italy thought it scored, but Federico Mori lost a chase against England fullback George Furbank.
England returned from the break with much-needed greater intent, and Youngs scored again after a Hill chargedown.
Polledri came back to even up the forwards, but England’s pack blew through Italy’s to carry George over in a maul.
The all-important fourth try was delivered after England earned a scrum penalty and went for an attacking lineout. Curry went blind from a ruck and went untouched into the left corner. Relieved, Eddie Jones left the sideline to return to the coaches’ box.
Slade finished the scoring with a try from a Farrell grubber.
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