Likely lads prove decisive

RUGBY UNION

England A 33

Italy A 9

England's strength in depth is frightening when you think that the team who handsomely won yesterday's A match at Gloucester are not even a second string, but the likeliest lads for the next-but-one World Cup in 1999.

It was a comforting thought for Jack Rowell and the rest of the England management, taking in the Italians on the way home from Cardiff, that Steve Bates's mainly youthful side should be developing so quickly. Having beaten Ireland, France and Italy at this level, the A team will complete their own grand slam if they beat Natal in Durban on 18 March.

That is a heavy conditional, but England are unconcerned, no matter how much more experienced the opposition. France A contained eight full internationals and, humbler though the standard is, the Italians had no fewer than 10, many of whom we can expect to see when Italy play in England's World Cup group in South Africa in three months' time.

Yesterday's victory was, however, considerably less impressive than the one over the French - which was partly due to an attitude of mind, but also due to the heavy conditions and relative inferiority of the Italians, even if they are supposed to be European rugby's up-and-comers.

England had the game won at an early stage and then, under no great pressure, lapsed into sloppiness which probably arose out of a certain complacency. Still, it was good while it lasted. Italy led briefly after Luigi Troiani had replied to Jez Harris's penalty with two of his own, but once Harris had squared the scores, England pulled away decisively with three tries before half-time.

The first, by Harvey Thorneycroft, came from a mauled line-out take that looked for all the world like the senior England pack. Bates slipped away when the ball squirted out of a scrum for the second. Paul Hull and Thorneycroft combined to put Jon Sleightholme in for the third.

Immediately after the interval, Sleightholme accelerated up the wing and found Richard Hill in support for the fourth try. But after 22 points in 15 minutes, England had their attacking edge so blunted that there their scoring ended. A third penalty by Troiani was all that remained.

Eventually, Rowell had something else to hold his interest, although this was the departure of Simon Shaw, England's principal line-out reserve, with a knee injury, rather than the game itself.

ENGLAND A: Tries Thorneycroft, Bates, Sleight-holme, Hill; Conversions Harris 2; Penalties Harris 3. Italy A: Penalties Troiani 3.

England A: P Hull (Bristol); J Sleightholme (Bath), N Greenstock (Wasps), S Potter (Leicester), H Thorneycroft (Northampton); J Harris (Leicester), S Bates (Wasps, capt); R Hardwick (Coventry), R Cockerill, D Garforth (Leicester), G Archer (Newcastle Gosforth), S Shaw (Bristol), L Dallaglio (Wasps), A Diprose, R Hill (Saracens). Replacements: C Wilkins (Wasps) for Shaw, 62. Temporary substitute: C Clark (Bath) for Garforth, 20-21.

ITALY A: J Pertile (Roma); R Crotti (Milan), S Bordon (Rovigo), M Piovene (Padova), F Mazzariol (Treviso); L Troiani (L'Aquila, capt), G Faltiba (San Dona); G Grespan (Treviso), G De Carli (Roma), A Castellani (L'Aquila), R Cassina (Casale), M Giacheri (Treviso), A Sgorlon (San Dona), D Scaglia (Tarvisium), M Capuzzoni (Milan). Replacement: G Cicino (L'Aquila) for Scaglia, 71.

Referee: D Gillet (France).

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Property

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: KENT MARKET TOWN - An exciting new role has ar...

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices