England complete rugby World Cup preparations with Italy win
England overcame a patchy start to run in four second-half tries and finish their World Cup preparations with a healthy 37-0 victory over Italy.
With various new combinations and several key men sitting out the game, England were restricted to three Owen Farrell penalties in the first half as Italy defended with gusto and even threatened a try on a couple of occasions.
It was one-way traffic in the second half though as Ben Youngs, Joe Marchant, impressive replacement prop Ellis Genge and Anthony Watson all crossed.
England fly out to Japan on Sunday, beginning their campaign against Tonga on Sept. 22, and will travel in good heart with wins against Wales, Ireland and Italy under their belt – along with a narrow defeat by Warren Gatland’s Welsh side.
England thrashed Italy 57-14 in the Six Nations in March and have now won all 26 of the teams’ meetings – this one though being the first time they have kept them scoreless.
There was not much for the Italians to take from the game, where they competed bravely but were just outclassed in too many areas, particularly when England threw some heavyweight replacements into the fray.
"After last week against France that was a massive step up for us and we're pretty happy with our physical performance in that first half," said Italy captain Dean Budd.
His team start in the World Cup against Namibia, but with New Zealand and South Africa also in their pool, their chances of making the quarter-finals for the first time look extremely slim.
On Friday they certainly upped the intensity from when they were brushed aside by France a week ago and, combined with handling errors and over-elaboration by England, restricted the hosts to a 9-0 halftime lead and few scoring chances.Published: by Radio NewsHub