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RBS 6 Nations: England put pressure on Ireland with 52-11 victory over Italy

By lauracfell  |  Posted: March 15, 2014

WITH the Six Nations title at stake, England went all guns blazing at the Stadio Olimpico in a dominant 52-11 victory over wooden spoon holders Italy.

With Ireland's 49 point advantage hanging over their heads, England knew a hefty scoreline would be essential to keep their title hopes alive and put the pressure on Ireland who take on France in Paris tonight.

And they did not disappoint, as they reduced their points deficit to Ireland to just seven. Tries came flooding in from Mike Brown (2), Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola while fly-half Farrell recorded another 100 per cent kicking record.

Gloucester trio Ben Morgan, Jonny May and Billy Twelvetrees all retained their starting positions after England's 29-18 victory over Wales at Twickenham last week.

A breathless first half saw England lead Italy 24-6. Italy opened the scoring with a Luciano Orquera penalty, after England were penalised in the scrum.

But Owen Farrell hit back to level the scores, before man of the tournament Mike Brown scored a try after some flowing rugby from Luther Burrell.

Farrell converted and England had a seven point advantage.

Another Italy penalty at the scrum narrowed the deficit but England hit back through a simple try and conversion for Farrell.

Brown was over again just before half-time, after taking Farrell's offload and beating the covering defenders to the line. Farrell booted the conversion and England were flying.

England extended their lead to 31-6 as Jack Nowell scored his first try for England in the 53rd minute and Farrell's conversion was good.

With the Italian defence in disarray, Twelvetrees attacked the line in the 61st minute and with a beautiful offload, unleashed prop Mako Vunipola to score England's fifth try. Farrell slotted the simple conversion and England extended their advantage and closed in on Ireland's points difference.

Wrecking ball Manu Tuilagi replaced in-form Luther Burrell and scored a try within 15 minutes of being on the pitch, breaking through tackles to cross the whitewash, with Farrell adding the conversion.

England's points difference to Ireland had been reduced to just three points before Leonardo Sarto scored an interception try moments later to make the score 45-11.

May and Morgan both came close as the clock ticked down but it was captain Chris Robshaw who had the final say, diving over in the dying moments. Farrell sealed a perfect day with the boot and converted.

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