71 mins: Italy 15-19 England Dickson with a solid clearance but Italy have a line-out on England’s 22. England have been so much better in the first half an hour of this second half but the Stadio Olimpico is in full throttle as Italy threaten. Benvenuti tries to wriggle a way through the England defence before England’s forwards turn the ball over… Dickson finds Parisse with the box kick but the ball goes loose, Cole secures and England thrust clear…
68 mins: Italy 15-19 England England make a real dog’s dinner of the restart and Botes has the chance to get his side to within one point again – not sure what’s happened there, looked like he was kicking a balloon. That’s a very naughty kick, however, from the South African, England papered into a corner in their own 22…
65 mins: Italy 15-19 England As a man opposite me saws through an Eccles cake with a Bic biro – as if today could get any more surreal, work-wise – Parisse is hit hard and England have a turnover bang in front of the posts. Dan Cole showing the scars of war, his right ear bloodied and bruised, but the Leicester man ruins opposite number Lo Cicero andFarrell pops over the penalty from just right of the posts.
Lawrence Dallaglio on BBC One: “It’s all too delicately poised. It’s fair to say it wasn’t a great first half but it’s come to life and is there for either side now.”
62 mins: Italy 15-16 England The snow starts to fall again in Rome as Corbisiero is whistled for incorrect binding. Hartley finds Parling at the line-out and England come again. England swing it right and then left and here goes Botha on a barrel… Barritt with the half-break but after a number of phases Italy nick it back… Botes charged down again, Barritt thinks he’s scored but it was an England knock-on…
Adam Roberts on Twitter: “Dickson = game changer. We seem to have found the gain line all of a sudden.”
57 mins: Italy 15-16 England Morgan under a high ball and here goes the Scarlets man on a trundle… and again, the number eight showing the Italy defence a clean pair of heels. Barritt very nearly slips a try-scoring pass inside but Italy’s scramble defence snuffs out the threat.
55 mins: PENALTY Italy 15-16 England Dickson has made England tick-tock a bit faster since his introduction – taps and goes, snipes, quicker all round. Farrell slippers over the three-pointer, England have the lead.
53 mins: Italy 15-13 England More urgency from England now and here’s Morgan on a charge before Robshaw gets his head down and lets the hooves fly. Dickson has a snipe, grubber kick through and that’s handy defence from Tobias Botes, Italy’s replacement scrum-half. Deliberate knock-on, Farrell with the chance to regain the lead for England.
50 mins: Italy 15-13 England Farrell bangs over the extras and England are right back in it. Ben Morgan enters the fray, on for Phil Dowson; Lee Dickson on for Ben Youngs at scrum-half.
Lawrence Dallaglio on BBC One: “What a time to score for England just when they really needed it, how important a try might that be in the context of this match?”
50 mins: TRY Italy 15-11 England Parisse with another line-out steal against the head and suddenly Stuart Lancaster knows what it’s reallylike to be England’s head coach: uncomfortable… Hodgson with the charge-down try, that’s two in two weeks and his eighth try for England…
46 mins: PENALTY Italy 15-6 England Burton misses touch again with a penalty out of hands before it all goes off as Parisse is taken out after a chip and charge, Croft the villain. Not sure there was much in that, Parisse has hit the deck like a swooning Victorian lady from a Jane Austen tome. Whatever, it’s a penalty chance… Kris Burton has squeezed it through, England in a serious spot.
From Max Gruenke on Twitter: “Wow, we’re passing! A forgotten art of the English team. #bbcsixnations”
44 mins: Italy 12-6 England Italy with the rolling maul, the hosts into England’s 22. Burton with the attempted drop-goal and it’s a duffer. Masi on the switch as Italy win the ball back before Gori pops up a box kick – Barritt rat-a-tats a kick deep into enemy territory but he’s pinged for not rolling away.
41 mins: Italy 12-6 England Hodgson with the restart and here comes Dowson with a strong carry. England go through the phases, trying to get a foothold in the game, but the ball is eventually coughed up and it’s a penalty to Italy. Burton cocks the hammer, big territory gained…
Jeremy Guscott on BBC One: “England are doing nothing at pace, nothing with great momentum, and Italy really capitalised on English mistakes at the end of the half. Italy have had important wins all along during their time in the Six Nations and what a position to get into now. This crowd just can’t wait their team to come out again.”
Lawrence Dallaglio on BBC One: “England were going to settle for 6-0 up and then there were two lapses in concentration. England didn’t clear their lines and now the Italians have really got the crowd behind them it’s going to be tough for England.”
1658: First of all, I must apologise for all the technical problems we – and therefore you – have been having. We’re going old school – it might not look beautiful but I’ll endeavour to make the words as sexy as possible. Think of it like a lovely lady poured into a hessian sack.
40 mins: Benvenuti – Italy 12-6 England UNBELIEVABLE! Two tries in two minutes for Italy, Benvenuti latching onto an attempted offload from Foden and running in a try from roughly the halfway line. England caught with their pants down just before half-time – that’s changed the tone of the dressing room chat, I’d wager.
38 mins Venditti try – Italy 5-6 England But here come Italy, assaulting England’s lines – Burton with the grubber and England’s defenders miss it… fumble from Foden – apologies, it was a ricochet off the chest, andVenditti is all over it, sliding in to score the first try of the game. Burton misses with the extras…
35 mins: … almost the identical spot from the first kick, Farrell , all Terry Butchered up in head bandages, just makes it over to double England’s lead.
34 mins: Castrogiovanni is dragged to his feet, looks like he’s going to continue, only to signal to the bench that his race his run. Looks like a cracked rib – when Castro looks in pain, you know it must be serious, he has the constitution of a Hereford bullock.
England with a destructive scrum and it’s a penalty to Lancaster’s young side, Farrell with another attempt at a three-pointer…
32 mins: Zanni fumbles at the line-out and England are on it in a flash. Youngs with the box-kick and here comes Masi… Gori with the high one and Parisse pockets it and Italy surge forward… Burton on the loop, long pass, Benvenuti spills it. Castrogiovanni has done himself a mischief, looks like he’s winded…
Lawrence Dallaglio on BBC One: Brad Barritt was a bit too early, a bit too keen in all honesty. Most referees would have let that go because we’ve had a lot of stoppages, but it’s the right call.
31 mins: Italy forcing the play down the blind-side – Burton with a half-break before Gori looks to offload and the ball slithers into touch. England’s line-out looks to have been hammered into shape after those early crinkles. Bit of argy-bargy between Hartley and the Italy front-row, Barritt pinged for tackling Canale in the air.
Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 live: Sergio Parisse made a mess of a wraparound, David Strettle put the shoe on it and was scythed down – it was obstruction and quite rightly the penalty was given to England. The referee blew because he thought the Italian defender was going to pick the ball up but Owen Farrell smashed him.
26 mins: Italy 0-3 England No mistakes from Farrell , straight and true from a decent distance…
25 mins: Parisse, of all people, puts his side in all sorts of bother with an errant pass on the turn and it looked like Burton clipped Strettle’s heels as the English wing looked to steal a march. An Italian gets there first but that’s a penalty to England…
23 mins: Ashton swings it wide to Foden after a kick down the middle from Burton and the Northampton full-back gets plenty of purchase on his clearance. Quick off the top of the line-out by Italy and the hosts put phases together… before Burton kicks it away… again…
21 mins Bit of ping-pong before England force the turnover. This ain’t pretty. In fact, this match is so ugly it would make a purist want to punch his own eyes out. Croft with the one-handed take at the line-out, England with possession in Italy’s 22. Hodgson looking to swtich with Barritt but the Saracens centre knocks it forward and Burton clears his lines…
Emi Repetto: “Wish England would played incisive rugby, we have equal talent to Wales, Ireland and definitely France, why don’t we use it?”
Steam rising off both packs as they ready themselves to engage – like cattle in a way, but cattle in rugby shirts. Strettle with a hefty tackle on McLean but the Italy wing retains possession. Ashton fields a Burton kick over his shoulder and calls a mark… misses touch…
Alex Babb: “Ben Youngs needs to wipe the sleep from his eyes, has he just woken up from a little pre-match cat nap? #bbcsixnations”
6 mins Hodgson with a steepler – that’s got snow on it, literally – but Italy recover it, only for Burton to fail to find touch. Burton now with an up-and-under but it’s all a little bit aimless at the moment, Ashton underneath it and he makes some ground. Another line-out stolen, England creaking at the set-piece, and this time Burton slippers a cute tactical kick through.
Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 live: “England are playing multi, multi-phases but putting too many players into contact. There’s three or four players against pretty much no-one and therefore there’s a mis-match in Italy’s favour.”
3 min Edoardo Gori of Treviso clears his lines after a solid scrum from Italy. England come again, through Robshaw and Corbisiero, but again a lack of accuracy snaps the momentum. Youngs on the loop and Botha shows the hands of a tin man, popping the ball forward. Turnover ball and Burton inexplicably kicks it away…
… England nick it back and here goes Palmer on a charge. The ball is flung left again but Hartley’s pass to Croft doesn’t find its mark – Italy scrum.
1 min Kris Burton gets us under way and there’s the first blast of the whistle from French referee Jerome Garces, England penalty. Hartley towels down the ball and finds his man at the line-out before Youngs kicks the ball away. Dowson under a high one and he dummies and goes. Youngs takes his eye off it, the ball skips through his legs from the back of a ruck and Italy nick it…
1545: This Stadio Olimpico takes some filling but it looks like they’ve given it a good shot – it’s positively brimming. It was in this very stadium, of course, that we were first treated to the Whitbread “wiggle”, back at the athletics world champs in 1987. Ashton will have that in the old memory bank, surely? Bit of Gladiator being belted out and here come the anthems.
BBC Sport website’s chief sportswriter Tom Fordyce: “Blower update (it’s what Twitter was made for): approx 3rd of pitch cleared in 10min. With 20min to start, on track for a Roman miracle.”
1540: I must report the Stadio Olimpico pitch looks like a right old patchwork quilt of a mess – blocks of white next to blocks of green, a little bit cubist. Phil Dowson retains his place at number eight for England today despite an iffy first game last week. Before that Murrayfield debut, young Dowson joked he’d been “a Saxon since the Crusades began”. I believe that album came out in 1984, so that’s a very long time.
Italy performance director Carlo Checchinato: “I think the guys have shown over the last match and the last few years that they are at a very good standard. Every time we play we have a chance to win and today I think we have a better chance even if England are very strong. I think and I hope the guys will play one of the matches of their lives to get this victory.”
1536: I fancy Italy to win this – new coach, new hope; vasty experienced side; big question marks remain over new-look England. The Azzurri by three? I wouldn’t bet against it…
1533: We’re off, TV-wise. Ongoing problems with my live text, alas – we’ve got our best men and women on it. Let’s not try to get too down about it – in times like this, best to remember many of your grandparents had more pressing things on their minds at your age, like which grade of coal they were likely to have for dinner. It does raise a philosophical question though: does my live text exist if you are unable to see it?
1521: Jonathan, London: “So excited about the Italy game – Lancaster has made the right decision to keep faith with his new recruits. I am cooking a full English breakfast for 4pm and inviting my Italian friends round.”
1526: Veteran lock Marco Bortolami has been promoted from the bench for Italy and wins his 90th cap in place of Cornelius van Zyl. The only other change from the side beaten by France is Clermont-Auvergne centre Gonzalo Canale in for Alberto Sgarbi. The Italian starting XV have a combined total of 698 caps to England’s 248.
From Marlon Fernandez: “Italy will give a tough game, they really improved last year and will give a fight at their home stadium.” Get involved via #bbcsixnations
BBC pitch-side reporter Sonja McLaughlan in Rome: “Brief exchange with Dave Strettle as I walked along the touchline. He says ‘it’s not the best’ underfoot on the pitch.”
1518 : TEAM LINE-UPS Italy: 15-Andrea Masi, 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 12-Gonzalo Canale, 11-Luke McLean, 10-Kris Burton, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrea Lo Cicero, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-Quintin Geldenhuys, 5-Marco Bortolami, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Robert Barbieri, 8-Sergio Parisse (capt) Replacements: 16-Tommaso D’Apice, 17-Lorenzo Cittadini, 18-Antonio Pavanello, 19-Mauro Bergamasco, 20-Fabio Semenzato, 21-Tobias Botes, 22-Luca Morisi
England: 15-Ben Foden, 14-Chris Ashton, 13-Brad Barritt, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-David Strettle, 10-Charlie Hodgson, 9-Ben Youngs; 1-Alex Corbisiero, 2-Dan Cole, 3-Dylan Hartley, 4-Mouritz Botha, 5-Tom Palmer, 6-Tom Croft , 7-Chris Robshaw (capt), 8-Phil Dowson Replacements: 16-Rob Webber, 17-Matt Stevens, 18-Geoff Parling, 19-Ben Morgan, 20-Lee Dickson, 21-Jordan Turner-Hall, 22-Mike Brown
1514: Some remarkable stats from last weekend’s match between Scotland and England – Stuart Lancaster’s men managed only 72 passes to Scotland’s 238, but somehow still managed to win. Meanwhile, Italy’s new coach Jacques Brunel has promised a more expansive game, and it certainly looked that way in their brave defeat by France. I’m not going to lie to you, we’re having a few technical problems at the moment – I beseech you to remain patient.
1501: Just seen a couple of photos from Rome and the groundstaff are out in force with their big red shovels, clearing snow from the pitch. It looks seriously Baltic over there, they’re all trussed up like Scott and Oates.
It’s unlikely to be an expansive affair at the Stadio Olimpico – England wings Strettle and Ashton might as well take to the field in mittens. Scratch that, one suspects they might as well not take to the field at all. Italy have pushed England close in Rome on the last two occasions, losing 19-23 in 2008 and 12-17 in 2010. Could this be Italy’s year after 17 attempts since 1991?
1455: Alright? Yeh, fine thanks. The second weekend of the 2012 Six Nations Championship and first up it’s Italy v England in Rome. The Azzurri are playing a Six Nations game at the 82,000-capacity Stadio Olimpico for the first time, which might be intimidating for the English – if it’s full.
Snow in Rome but news filtering through that it’s set to stop an hour before the start of play (1600 GMT) and they’ll be spraying the lines orange or some such. The build-up kicks off on the telly on BBC One from 1530 GMT.