Likely lads prove decisive


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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin