England/Italy: England win by cricket scores

Saturday, February 17, 2001
England 80, Italy 23

Jonny Wilkinson lead England on a Six Nations points record spree as they came from behind to destroy Italy 80-23 at Twickenham.

The Newcastle fly-half scored 35 points, an individual tournament record, while England's tally also smashed the previous best of 60 that they jointly held with Ireland.

The title-holders and tournament favourites posted 10 tries in total, Wilkinson claiming one of those - and booting nine conversions and four penalties for good measure.

England ran away with it in the second period, scoring 47 unanswered points after leading 33-23 at the break.

Italy, rank outsiders with the bookmakers, refused to play second fiddle, and lead 20-17 after 28 minutes following touchdowns from wing Denis Dallan and number eight Carlo Checchinato.

It all added up to a difficult time for England, 44-15 conquerors of Wales in Cardiff a fortnight ago.

Full-back Iain Balshaw grabbed two tries, his second a stunning 70-metre solo effort, while wing Austin Healey also claimed a brace.

As the floodgates opened, Wilkinson, Will Greenwood, Ben Cohen, Lawrence Dallaglio, together with second-half substitutes Mark Regan and Joe Worsley, also got in on the act.

Former rugby league star Jason Robinson made his international union debut, enjoying a 30-minute second-half run-out, but there was only one moment of magic as he found himself starved of possession.

The day though, belonged to Wilkinson, who now has more Five or Six Nations points than any other English player.

England now move on to face Scotland at Twickenham in two weeks' time, but as with Wales, manager Clive Woodward and his coaching staff will find plenty to work on as Italy certainly exposed deficiencies early on.