At the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the XV de la Rose enters its 2024 tournament with success (27-24) not without difficulties. Jamie George’s team-mates, led at the break by an enterprising and efficient Italy, were finally able to regain the advantage thanks to a try from Alex Mitchell and the foot of George Ford. Italy grabbed the bonus in the 85th minute with a try from Ioano.
Italy came close to a historic achievement when they narrowly missed out on a first win against England. The Squadra Azzurra even created an illusion during the first period and allowed themselves to take the lead at the break against the third in the last World Cup. Under the bright Roman sun, the Transalpines scored the first points of the match with a try from Alessandro Garbisi, who confirmed Italy’s good start (10-0, 11th), after the first opening penalty from Tommaso Allan (5th). Stung, XV de la Rose responded with a try from Elliot Daly (10-8, 20th).
The tempo was turned up another notch and Gonzalo Quesada’s men scored the best try of the day with a fateful double pass into the defense initiated by Ignacio Brex and a finish from full-back Allan on the wing (17-8, 28th). England came back timidly and scored through the boot of George Ford, but had to decide to leave Italy leading in the dressing room (17-14).
Excellent XV de la Rose during the second act
However, the 2003 world champions have shown since the restart that they had no intention of letting history be written against them. Steve Borthwick’s men immediately stepped up with an individual use of scrum-half Alex Mitchell, who turned 5 meters out to slip between three defenders to restore the advantage to the British (17-21, 45.). A suddenly largely dominant England took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes and relentlessly built up their lead thanks to the precision of the boot of George Ford, who converted two penalties (55th and 67th) to give the visitors a comfortable lead (17-27).
However, the heart was Italian at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome! And it was through courage that the Transalpine XV grabbed a bonus point in defense in extra time, with a crash from Monty Ioano… in the 85th minute (24-27, final score)! This latest immense playing time alone speaks to the desire of Gonzalo Quesada’s men to end their terrible black streak marked by just one win in the last eight editions of the Six Nations Tournament! Argentina’s new coach comes out of this defeat with his head held high, but the mountain will be even higher next week… against Ireland, who reminded France that they are the best team in Europe and that their cruel quarter-final exit at the last World Cup has been spent. As for England, they will have to confirm at home against Wales