Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Six Nations 2021: England vs Italy

Six Nations 2021: England vs Italy



Eddie Jones’ England will be searching for a massive improvement after last week’s shock result when they host Italy at Twickenham in the second round of the Six Nations on Saturday.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

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England vs Italy
Saturday 13 February 2021
Twickenham
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
England 0
Draw 20/1
Italy 20/1

Handicap
England 9/10 (-37.5)
Italy 9/10 (+37.5)

The hosts were beaten 8-13 by a wonderful Scotland side in round one but, in all fairness, the English produced arguably their worst performance under Jones. The Aussie boss lamented the lack of possession his side had in the Test match, yet Owen Farrell skopped away whatever ball they did have time and again. The defending champions didn’t make a single linebreak all game — not a single bloody one — and looked uninspired and characterless throughout the eighty.

This approach of playing without the ball and looking to strangulate and pressurise opposition teams doesn’t work if, like Scotland, the opponents don’t lose their cool. While the Saracens boys should be more intense this week, and while England’s tactics will likely seem radically improved against an under-par Italy here, the reality is the squad will need to address their inhibitions fast if they are to knock over the likes of France and Ireland.

The return to fitness of Mako Vunipola, and the possible inclusion of George Ford and Courtney Lawes in the starting XV could make a difference, but it will be tough to gauge England’s true improvement until they face tougher opposition a little down the road.

Italy were poor again in their 10-50 drubbing by France and could face a similar result at Twickenham. Franco Smith’s side were defensively disorganised and wasteful on attack, while their decision-making also left plenty to be desired.

The one bright spark was the performance of 20-year-old flyhalf Paolo Garbisi, a player of freakish talent. The livewire Benetton man is a constant threat in broken field, with footwork, pace and an eye for a gap that could make him the Azzurri’s MVP in the post-Parisse era. Seriously, the kid has a bright future.

Verdict: England(-37.5)

A hurting England will be far too much for this Italian side to handle.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

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