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Summary

  1. Result: England 36-15 Italy
  2. Tries from Cole, Care, Daly, Nowell (2) and Te'o give England victory
  3. England claim 17th win in a row - one behind NZ's world record
  4. Saturday's results: Scotland 29-13 Wales; Ireland 19-9 France
  5. Get involved: #bbcsixnations

Live Reporting

By Mike Henson

All times stated are UK

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England lead the way

More intrigue than an Agatha Christie novel, more grit than an industrial sander.

This is how the third round leaves the Six Nations heap.

You'll have to wait a fortnight for the next installment.

See you there.

graphic
BBC

FT: England 36-15 Italy

England head coach Eddie Jones speaking on ITV: 

"Congratulations to Italy, but it's not rugby today.

"We're exactly where we want to be in the competition and of course we're going to get better. 

"Scotland have got belief. They're confident of coming here and beating us but they've got to carry the burden of that expectation around Scotland for the next two weeks.

I'm not happy with what happened today. I've played the game, I'm not angry with what Italy did, but I'm not happy."

FT: England 36-15 Italy

An intriguing round three of the Six Nations.

The fourth round is in a fortnight's time.

Friday 10 March

Wales v Ireland  

Saturday 11 March: 

Italy v France

England v Scotland

If Scotland and Ireland win, we would head into the final round with them and England all poised on three wins and a defeat.

FT: England 36-15 Italy

'We have to be horrible to play against'

FT: England 36-15 Italy

Conor O'Shea
Getty Images

Conor O'Shea speaking on ITV:

"We have a massive job to do but we will do it. We have to think differently like we did today.

"Hopefully we've earned a bit of respect here today.

"We are playing absolutely legally. We played to the laws and I thought we were fantastic. I'm very proud of the players today.

"We have to think differently as a country and play our own game. We have to be horrible to play against. We're here to win and not make up the numbers."

FT: England 36-15 Italy

graphic
BBC

FT: England 36-15 Italy

Similar to when Australia bowled underarm in a 1 day cricket international. Let's hope we never see what we saw in the #ENGvITA game again.

'No-one knew what was going on'

FT: England 36-15 Italy

James Haskell
Getty Images

England flanker James Haskell talking to ITV:

“It was a little bit bizarre and it took us time to adjust.

“Italy were always going to come here and try different things, we didn’t expect that and I’ve only seen it once before.

“I don’t think anyone knew what was going on. The only ones who knew what was going on was the Italians.

“I asked the referee not how to deal with it, I asked him what the law was.

“We’ll go away and learn from this. Things didn’t go well this afternoon but we’ve got two weeks to go away and learn."

FT: England 36-15 Italy

Romain Poite's mic is still on and Joe Marler's just said: "I don't know the laws as it is mate...fair play to 'em." Outstanding.

For all the armchair coaches who had the answer instantly to how England should play the Italian tactics, it is worth remembering that it is a lot hard in the middle of the fray.

Not only have you got to co-ordinate your tactics with 14 other people, you have got to overcome 20 odd-years of seeing the game a certain way.

Players now are so drilled that they are practically institutionalised.

'We found a way'

England 36-15 Italy

England captain Dylan Hartley speaking on ITV:

"A difficult game, and a test for the team. We found something out there that we've never needed to before.

"We're full of respect for them today and they proved very difficult to break down.

"We wanted to play quicker down at the ruck. I was confused by it. The guys adapted well, we took the game line. We found a way.

"Every international team is very competitive. Their mauling threat is huge and we conceded way too many penalties. 

"We have a down week next week, and there's plenty for us to work on."

FT: England 36-15 Italy

That was all a bit weird... nightmare @maidsrfc on Tuesday night now!!! "Can we do what Italy did please boss!!??" @EnglandRugby

England 36-15 Italy

Italy provide the talking point

FT: England 36-15 Italy

Tactical genius? Or the death of the sport? Or a bit of both?

Italy's breakdown tactics - which have been employed before in the southern hemisphere by Australia and the Chiefs at least - is the talking point post match

Been waiting for someone to break the tactical deadlock of international rugby with a radical approach to tactics. Well done, Italy.

Imagine the shambles at all the rugby clubs around the world next weekend!! #shameonyouConor

'We let ourselves down'

FT: England 36-15 Italy

Joe Launchbury
Getty Images

England lock Joe Launchbury speaking on ITV:

"It was a very frustrating first half, obviously Italy came with a plan around the breakdown and it took us a while to work that out.

"We knew Italy would come very passionate and fired up, but we let ourselves down in a couple of areas today.

"We've got two weeks to address these issues and look forward to a big game."

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Alison: Glad we read the rule book at half time.

Keith Blundy: Well it ended well for England - but the real heroes are Italy for playing so passionately - I love Rugby Union.

David Symonds: If ever there was a game of two halves.

It's not how you start...

England 36-15 Italy

You know that old adage of 'it's not how you start, it's how you finish'? Well, how about this for a case in point - England finally ahead in terms of possession against Italy right at the very end of the match.

graphic
Opta

FT: England 36-15 Italy

Paul Grayson

Former England fly-half on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

From an England point of view, today will feel like a loss.They were the opposite of what everyone expected

If they haven't seen the ugly side of Eddie Jones yet, I've got a suspicion they'll see it this week. He will have a problem with the team being no-one near the levels he expects.

You've got to give credit to Italy for their tactics, it certainly upset England but they'll be disappointed about conceding so many tries late on. 

Italy players
Reuters

Full-time

England 36-15 Italy

A bonus-point win, but that only tells half the tale from Twickenham this afternoon.

England have been forced to solve a real head-scratcher of a tactical conundrum.

They got there eventually.

Converted try - England 36-15 Italy

Jack Nowell, con Farrell

Some lovely basketball off-loading from England with Henry Slade showing off some particularly sharp sleight of hand.

Jack Nowell darts through some tired tackling to complete the victory.

Jack Nowell
Getty Images

England 29-15 Italy

England are knocking on the door for a sixth try as the clock ticks down...

Will Italy be kicking themselves?

England 29-15 Italy

The Azzurri have just a drop goal and a conversion to show for six efforts at goal so far in this match, missing out on a maximum of 11 additional points; though that includes the Tommaso Allan penalty that resulted in Italy's opening try.

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Opta

England 29-15 Italy

Owen Farrell nibbles his margins too thin, punting the ball dead as he aims for the corner off a penalty.

Scrum back Italy.

Owen Farrell was the one England player to possibly make a World XV according to Eddie Jones earlier this week.

Not on this showing.

England 29-15 Italy

Paul Grayson

Former England fly-half on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

A fantastic break from Kyle Sinckler, excellent sprinting technique from the big man. Owen Farrell in at scrum-half to fly the ball out to Mike Brown and Ben Te'o finishes.

It's quite an attractive game when you play it like that, but what were they doing in the first half?

Kyle Sinckler
Getty Images

Get Involved

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Marc Tasker:  Down side to the no rucking tactic right there...easy pick up and go. Try.

Andrew Wilson:  No finer sight than Sinkler in full flight.

Josh Verrills:  England's "finishers" make us absolutely deadly in the final 20 minutes of matches. Huge impact every game.

Meer Shah:  England again grind out another win as they edge ever closer to the NZ record of 18 straight wins. Magnificent turnaround. 

Converted try - England 29-15 Italy

Ben Te'o, con Farrell

Ben Te'o
Reuters

Kyle Sinckler - off the bench - charges through like a runaway bull.

One courageous Italy defender throws themselves in front of the 20-stone prop's wheels.

But there is space aplenty and Ben Te'o strolls in for his score.

Owen Farrell finds the combination off the tee, splitting the sticks. 

Owen Farrell
Getty Images

England 22-15 Italy

Paul Grayson

Former England fly-half on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Unbelievably that's England's bonus point try.

It was a jog in for Jack Nowell but it could easily have been scored under the posts if they'd gone a bit sooner.

England's stated aim is to become the number one side in the world but on today's performance, lots of work to do.

Try - England 22-15 Italy

Jack Nowell

This was not at all pretty from England.

A six-man overlap out wide, which they just about convert despite George Ford's pass behind Jamie George checking the momentum and Jack Nowell having to take George's pass over his head.

The wing makes it into the corner just ahead of the cover though.

Owen Farrell misses the conversion.

Jack Nowell
Reuters

England 17-15 Italy

Superb covering defence from Italy replacement Carlo Canna who gets across to hoof the ball into touch just as Elliot Daly is poised to touch down for the try.

Italy have a line-out to defend five metres out though.

They are not out of the woods yet.

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Chris Harvey:  France, Wales and Italy all raised their game massively against England. This unbeaten run has created a big target.

Carol Douglas: This is by far the best six nations we’ve had in years! Gripping stuff!

Railton Philip:  England don't deserve to win playing like this. They don't seem to want this as much as the Italians.

England 17-15 Italy

Paul Grayson

Former England fly-half on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

I was expecting to see an England team come out at 100 miles an hour and blitz Italy in the first 20 minutes. 

But England came out and they were error-strewn, had no energy, ill-discipline and skill wise they were the absolute opposite of what I expected.

Then you throw into the mix Italy's interpretation of the laws, but England are ultimately culpable. 

England players
Getty Images

Missed penalty

England 17-15 Italy

Owen Farrell is kicking like he has his boots on the wrong feet.

Another mongrel of a kick screws wide.

England 17-15 Italy

England are not quite joining the dots.

But that is better. Ben Youngs darts though a hole, Mike Brown is in support.

Italy's Braam Steyn puts in a pre-emptive tackle on Brown. That is just illegal, not innovative.

Penalty shot for England, well within Owen Farrell's range.

Ben Youngs
Reuters

England 17-15 Italy

Paul Grayson

Former England fly-half on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Michele Campagnaro was one against four there. He's shrugged off George Ford, Jamie George misses a tackle and the winger then puts brilliant feet on Mike Brown. 

Campagnaro been playing so well for Exeter and everyone was asking why he didn't play in the opening rounds. He's earned his selection there.

Try - England 17-15 Italy

Michele Campagnaro

Michele Campagnaro
Getty Images

Oh my.

England with some paper-bag tackling as Exeter centre Michele Campagnaro shoves aside George Ford, bustles past Jamie George and leaves Mike Brown tied in knots with a jagging side-step.

A lovely individual score, some horrible collective defence.

Conversion missed.

But we have a two-point ball game.

Michele Campagnaro
AP

England 17-10 Italy

England 17-10 Italy

Paul Grayson

Former England fly-half on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

England's appetite for work just hasn't been there today and they've got 20 minutes to put this right.

Dan Cole and Dylan Hartley
Reuters

No try

England 17-10 Italy

The video referee and Romain Poite agree that Nathan Hughes has blocked off Luke McLean in that passage of play.

I think Jack Nowell got a free sidestep off Hughes chest as well as he pinballed off the big number eight.

Try review

England 17-10 Italy

Jack Nowell has picked, gone and sauntered over under the posts.

But it looks like Nathan Hughes as inadvertently blocked off Luke McLean as the Italy centre was poised to tackle.

Jack Nowell
AP