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England v Italy: Head to Head

08 March 2013

  • looks at England's head-to-head record against Italy
  • Find out who, where and how to watch the match on Sunday

It’s just over a week until we know the final standings of this year’s RBS 6 Nations but until then England have the tough prospect of a resurgent Italy at Twickenham on Sunday. Stuart Lancaster’s side are still yet to lose and Italy are a far cry from the side that joined the competition in 2000, having beaten France in this year’s tournament. A big pack and a well-structured game mean that the English defence will have to again be on song if they are to head to Wales next weekend in hope of a shot at the Grand Slam. Here are all the vital stats and facts ahead of the clash.

When? Sunday, February 10
Where? Twickenham, Middlesex
Kick-off? 1500hrs

How to keep up with the action

  • Live on BBC One from 2.20pm
  • Live commentary on BBC 5 live Sports Extra and online
  • Live text commentary on the free RFU iPhone app (search the app store for Official RFU)
  • Live score updates from @Official_RFU on Twitter
  • Match report, post-match interviews and highlights on

The teams


15 Alex Goode (Saracens); 14 Chris Ashton (Saracens); 13 Brad Barritt (Saracens); 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers); 11 Mike Brown (Harlequins); 10 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers); 9 Danny Care (Harlequins); 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens); 2 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers); 4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps); 5 Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers); 6 James Haskell (London Wasps); 7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins); 8 Tom Wood (Northampton)

Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley (Northampton); 17 David Wilson (Bath); 18 Joe Marler (Harlequins); 19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton); 20 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers); 21 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 22 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby); 23 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)


15 Andrea Masi (London Wasps);14 Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby,); 13 Gonzalo Canale (La Rochelle); 12 Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre Rugby); 11 Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso); 10 Luciano Orquera (Zebre Rugby); 9 Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso); 1 Alberto De Marchi (Benetton Treviso); 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso); 3 Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers); 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre Rugby); 5 Joshua Furno (Narbonne); 6 Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso); 7 Robert Barbieri (Benetton Treviso); 8 Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais)

Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon (Zebre Rugby); 17 Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris); 18 Lorenzo Cittadini (Benetton Treviso); 19 Antonio Pavanello (Benetton Treviso); 20 Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso); 21 Simone Favaro (Benetton Treviso); 22 Tobias Botes (Benetton Treviso); Tommaso Benevenuti (Benetton Treviso)

What the coaches say:

England coach Stuart Lancaster:

“Italy will be highly motivated for this game and we will have to perform for the full 80 minutes. I am sure those starting will seize their chance and the bench will also have a significant part to play as the game goes on.

England get in a huddle after training

Photo Credit: Getty Images

“The support at Twickenham for the Scotland and France games was superb and I am sure the atmosphere will be fantastic again for our final home match of the Championship.”

Italy team manager Luigi Troiani:

“We have to go to Twickenham to take on a team getting ready for the Grand Slam and in good form and we now that it will be a demanding game.

“We need to show no fear and try to impose our own game ahead of the final game of the tournament at home to Ireland in front of our fans.”

Head to head

  • Played 18, England won 18, Italy won 0, drawn 0
  • Highest score – England 80-23 in 2001,
  • Biggest win – England 67-7 in 1999, Italy no win

Previous four meetings

  • 2009 – England 36-11 Italy
  • 2010 - Italy 12-17 England
  • 2011 - England 59 - 13 Italy
  • 2012 - Italy 15-19 England

England key facts

  • IRB world ranking: 4th
  • Most capped player in history: Jason Leonard (114 caps, 1990-2004)
  • Most capped player in the squad: Toby Flood (55 caps, 2005-2013)
  • Most consecutive test wins: 14 (2002 to 2003)

Italy key facts

  • IRB world ranking: 12th
  • Most capped player in history: Alessandro Troncon (101 caps, 1994-2007)
  • Most capped player in squad: Andrea Lo Cicero (47 caps, 2000-2013)
  • Most consecutive test wins: 10 (1992-1994)
The England scrum packs down in training

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Stats from Accenture:

  • England are going for a 4th straight win from the start of an RBS 6 Nations campaign for the fifth time – 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2011
  • England’s only loss in their last eight RBS 6 Nations matches was 12-19 at home to Wales last season.
  • Italy have only won two matches in an entire Six Nations campaign once before: in 2007, when they defeated Wales and Scotland in successive rounds
  • England have all won all 18 of their previous test matches against Italy
  • Three of the last five clashes between these two sides have been settled by margins of five points or under but they have all taken place in Rome
  • The closest Italy have ever come to beating England at Twickenham was a 20-7 defeat in 2007.
  • The aggregate score between these teams in six matches at HQ is 274-66, with England averaging six tries scored per game

Keys To The Game

The IBM TryTracker live stats engine includes the ‘Keys to the Game’, which predict three crucial areas of performance specific to each team ahead of match day. If a side hits their target in these aspects of their game they will significantly increase their chances of victory.

England keys

  • Average more than 4.6m per carry
  • Make more than 5 line breaks
  • Tackle Completion greater than 90%

One area of England’s game that was weaker than normal against France was tackling, with England hitting just 83 per cent completion. The team’s quick line speed in defence does open them up to attacking teams and if they are to nullify Italy’s burgeoning offensive threat they will have to make 90 per cent of their tackles. If they do the job in defence, then the attacking platform will prosper with both the forwards and backs aiming to make five line breaks and an average of 4.6m per carry.

Italy keys

  • Attempt at least 8 kicks at goal
  • Offload at least 8 times
  • Force at least 14 turnovers

If England are aiming to make tackles and force breakdowns, then Italy’s aim is to keep the ball moving out of contact with a target of eight offloads. In their win against France The Azzurri played flowing rugby and made 14 offloads, so supporting runners will have to be on hand to stretch the English defence. The contact area is going to be a huge contest and a potential game changer for Italy, with a target of 14 turnovers. Being first to breakdowns and forcing turnovers and penalties will help create points-scoring opportunities and get the team close to their target of eight attempts on goal.