Following England’s defeat to Scotland in the Calcutta Cup match that took place the previous week, England will have the opportunity to pick up their first win in this year’s Six Nations tournament when Italy travels to Twickenham on Sunday.
It was the first time in Scotland’s history that they won consecutive games at Twickenham, and they did so with the help of two incredible tries scored by Duhan van der Merwe. England will be eager to get back to winning ways, especially so that Steve Borthwick can claim his first victory as the head coach of England.
Italy has been known as the “whipping boys” in the Six Nations competition in recent years; however, they gave the current champions France a run for their money last weekend, only falling short 29-24 after France scored a late try.
England vs Italy Betting Tips
Italy have never beaten England in 29 previous encounters, with 23 of those coming in the Six Nations.
That stat is reflected in the match-winner prices, with England 1/11, despite losing their opening game to Scotland. The tie is available at 33/1, while Italy are 17/2 to record a historic victory in what would be one of the biggest shocks in Six Nations history.
Borthwick has dropped Marcus Smith and selected Owen Farrell to start at fly-half on Sunday. Farrell has moved from inside centre, while Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade have been named as the new centre partnership.
Jack Willis replaces Ben Curry in the back row, while London Irish winger Henry Arundell is named on the bench, with Joe Marchant dropping out of the 23 entirely.
Italy make two changes to their starting XV, with Edoardo Padovani replacing Pierre Bruno on the wing. Saracens prop Marco Riccioni is also given a chance to start, with Simone Ferrari making way.
Tommaso Allan will continue at fly-half as Paolo Garbisi is still unavailable.
Handicap 3-way – Italy + 19 @ 10/11
Italy have not gotten within single figures of England in over a decade, but they can at least cover the +19 handicap this weekend. If they can repeat their performance from the defeat to France, then England will be up against it for the full 80 minutes.
England have to win if Borthwick is to avoid questions over his future, but it would be a surprise to see England blow Italy away.
Borthwick has had very little time to get his methods across, and Italy are a team on the up, according to their recent performances.
England to win the first half @ 1/4
Italy are now a lot more adventurous under head coach Kieran Crowley, and they were more than happy to throw the ball around against France last week.
While that may lead to some points against England, they will also be punished if they are sloppy.
England, especially in front of their own fans, need to make a fast start, and they should be able to win the first half at Twickenham.
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