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Italy thumped England bounce back in Six Nations after 'honest conversations' in team meeting

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England's Jonny May scores a try during the Six Nations rugby union international match between England and Italy at Twickenham Stadium in London, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

England's Jonny May scores a try during the Six Nations rugby union international match between England and Italy at Twickenham Stadium in London, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

England's Jonny May scores a try during the Six Nations rugby union international match between England and Italy at Twickenham Stadium in London, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Jonny May accelerated clear as England’s second-highest try-scorer with a stunning finish as Italy fell to a 41-18 Guinness Six Nations defeat at Twickenham.

May plundered his 32nd international touch down on the stroke of half-time by leaping for the whitewash and grounding the ball from a mid-air horizontal position.

It was a remarkable moment of skill and ingenuity from one of the game’s most ruthless finishers, whose acrobatics swept him over a despairing tackle by Luca Sperandio and up one place in England’s all-time try-scoring charts.

Having moved above Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood into clear second, Rory Underwood’s total of 49 is the last remaining target.

Victory came at the cost of a sickening injury suffered by Jack Willis, whose left knee was damaged when he was cleared out at a ruck. Just moments earlier the replacement flanker had scored the fifth of England’s six tries.

Captain Owen Farrell was delighted England were back to playing to their best as he told ITV: “We’re probably back to being us.

“It’s not the perfect performance or the best performance we’ve ever had but in terms of the feeling, the energy, the intent – that felt back to us.”

Following the Twickenham defeat to the Scots, Farrell said the squad pushed hard in training and let their rugby do the talking on the pitch.

On what improved their performance, he added: “Some honest conversations that we had with ourselves during the week and the excitement to get out onto the training pitch to put things right.

“I thought we attacked this game Obviously, they had an advantage to move the ball and ended up scoring a try which was probably a bit of over-eagerness but then, from that, I thought our intent was brilliant.

“We moved the ball, we got in behind them. Probably not everything went our way but we stuck at it and that’s the way that the game ended up going our way. And the way that we built up showed in the way that we played.”


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