Italy almost realise impossible dream

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Updated: March 10, 2013

Underdogs Italy took England to the brink at Twickenham outscoring the hosts on the try count, however the boot of Flood eventually proved the difference as England held on for the 18-11 win, keeping them in line for a Grand Slam.

England were expected to steamroll the visitors which quite simply never occurred. In fact if it wasn’t for some suspect refereeing decisions and perhaps a few less errors from Italy, a famous Azzurri win could well have lit up Twickers this afternoon.

Italy looked the more dangerous on attack with Sergio Parisse leading from the front with another powerful performance. Luciano Orquera who performed so well in the opening win over France placed a clever kick out wide for Luke McLean to gather and score the only try of the game.

England have Toby Flood to thank for the win as he converted 6 from 6 for all of the home teams points.

The final 10 minutes belonged to the Azzurri as they battered away at the England line. The defence was determined and disciplined and on this evidence England may need more of the same is six days’ time.

Spare a thought for the vastly improved Italians. They have been at times superb in this championship and certainly deserved more from this game. Andrea Masi at fullback was exceptional and deserved his man of the match award while try scorer Luke McLean had his best game for some time.

Wales would have been watching this performance and come Saturday they will know that they have more than chance of beating England and retaining the championship. A win at the Millennium Stadium next week by more than 8 points will deny England their first Grand Slam since 2003.