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HIGHLIGHTS – England record rampant win against Italy

12 February 2011

  • England dominant as Italy are put to the sword
  • Ashton continues rich vein with four tries as Cueto ends barren spell

England 59 Italy 13

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Chris Ashton scored four tries as England beat Italy 59-13 at Twickenham to maintain their winning start to the RBS 6 Nations.

Just a week after running Ireland so close in Rome, Italy were overhauled by a superb attacking display that produced eight tries.

In-form finisher Ashton grabbed four more tries to add to the two he scored in the win over Wales in Cardiff, but it was Toby Flood  who ran the game for an hour with an almost flawless display from fly half.

England's forwards provided a solid platform against an Italian eight who came into the game expecting to at least match their hosts up front.

And Flood took full advantage with a creative performance that had his attacking runners anticipating a try-scoring pass every time he got the ball in the Italian half.

Italy paid a heavy price for losing the ball in England's half after three minutes as Ben Youngs put Flood into space. He had Ashton on his left shoulder to take the inside pass and sprint 40 metres to score.

Chris Ashton of England dives over to score his team's eighth try against Italy

Photo: Getty Images

The Northampton wing had promised not to demonstrate the swallow dive that marked his first try in Cardiff, but his exuberance took over and he once again flew in to score.

Italy got on the board almost immediately as England were penalised for crossing at the re-start and Mirco Bergamasco kicked the three points.

Another Youngs-Flood break almost set up a second England try but Bergamasco failed to roll away and Flood stretched the lead.

When Shontayne Hape this time failed to roll away Bergamasco again took advantage, but the rest of the half belonged almost exclusively to England.

Dan Cole charged to within five metres of the Italy line only for a Mirco Bergamasco interception to prevent a certain try, but there was no denying Ashton moments later.

England impress from one to 22

Prop Dan Cole of England makes a break, chased by two Italian defenders

Photo: Getty Images

Hape burst through two tackles and Ashton's support play was once again perfect as he appeared on the centre's outside to collect and score, this time from just a metre out.

On 29 minutes Mark Cueto chipped over the top and earnt an England lineout close to Italy's line. Once again the backs cruised through the defence and this time it was Cueto on Flood's inside shoulder to take the pass and crash over for his first try in 19 Tests.

The next try arrived from classic quick lineout ball as Nick Easter's superb back-handed offload put Mike Tindall in by the posts, Flood converting for a 31-6 half-time lead.

Three minutes into the second half things got even worse for Italy, as Martin Castrogiovanni was shown yellow for slapping the ball away as Ben Youngs tried to take a quick tap-penalty.

Mike Tindall of England breaks through to score his team's fourth try against Italy

Photo: Getty Images

England quickly took advantage as replacement winger Matt Banahan - again from Flood's pass - was stopped just short, but Ashton was first to arrive and scooped up to score.

Just before the hour Danny Care beat Andrea Lo Cicereo to dive over after the forwards had driven Italy back and this time Jonny Wilkinson - on for Flood - converted for a 45-6 lead.

Italy briefly got a welcome lift as their maul from a lineout pushed England back and rumbled over the try-line for Fabio Ongaro to drop down and score.

But England got the last word as James Haskell took Hape's long pass and weaved his way through a static Italian defence to scramble over and score the hosts' seventh try. Ashton added an eighth five minutes from time, which Wilkinson duly converted to stretch England's final lead to 46 points.