Brunel rues injuries after Italy slump to another England loss


Jacques Brunel rued first-half injuries as a spirited Italy display ended in a 17th successive Six Nations defeat to England.

Italy started well in Rome and were more than holding their own in the opening 40 minutes, only a George Ford try separating the two sides at the break.

However, Brunel had lost Marco Fuser, Gonzalo Garcia, Alessandro Zanni and Ornel Gega and in the second half his makeshift side struggled to contain England at Stadio Olimpico.

Eventually the hosts' spirit was broken as Jonathan Joseph ran in a hat-trick and Owen Farrell added a fifth try to complete a 40-9 win.

"The key moments of the match were definitely the four injuries in the first half," he said.

"Losing Fuser, Garcia, Zanni and Gega made it more difficult. Then, as I said, we are not able to handle the pressure and that changed everything.

"We are a young team that has to learn and grow. England has played it simple and when we came under pressure, we have paid dearly.

"Then, after ... Joseph's first try, the team lost the confidence that is required at this level."

Italy's next match is at home to Scotland on February 27, while England host Ireland at Twickenham later on the same day.