England needed a second-half comeback to secure a 27-24 victory over Italy in Rome in their 2024 Six Nations opener; New player Jamie George believes his team can win the tournament if they continue to improve week in week out.
8:18, UK, Sunday 04 February 2024
New England captain Jamie George believes England will win this year’s Six Nations but admits they have to learn quickly after beating Italy 27-24 in Rome.
England won 3-2 in the try and were played in the first half, after which they trailed 17-14, but were met by a crucial try from Alex Mitchell and two penalties from George Ford.
It was the closest Italy came to beating them in 31 Tests between the sides and conceding five new caps to England, it was a worrying start to the rebuilding World Cup.
While England struggled to win at the Stadio Olimpico, Ireland looked good in a thrilling victory over France in Marseille last evening.
Asked if the team had enough talent to challenge Ireland, George said: “Absolutely. . .
“When we look at Ireland, they were very impressive. Not many teams go to France and do that. It’s a process for us, and for every team, to see how they went in the game.
“For us, we will be learning fast and we have to make sure we learn, make it clear what we want to do after the game.
“We have a great opportunity to get back in front of our fans against Wales next week and give them something to smile about.”
Borthwick is proud of England’s evolution
England have a new defense coach in Felix Jones and were exposed at times by an inspired Italy, who took advantage of their lack of familiarity with the new system to make three passes.
“I’m delighted that the players found a way to adapt and win the game,” said head coach Steve Borthwick.
“There were areas where we did well and it was good to see five players playing together in the Six Nations, which doesn’t happen very often.
“But having said that there are many areas where we need to be better. Italy scored easily and we need to focus on the things that need to be improved around our defence.”
Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada took little comfort in knowing how close the Azzurri came to beating England in 31 attempts.
“When I talked to the players and the coaches in the locker room, nobody was happy about the narrow defeat,” Quesada said.
“This is a very important thing for me because I didn’t care to look at the big differences in history.
“I’m proud of the spirit this team is showing. England were close to our tryline many times but we blocked them, which is the team we want to be.”
England host Wales at Twickenham next Saturday, February 10 (4.45pm kick-off GMT), in Round 2 of the Six Nations.
Italy are back in action on Sunday, February 12 when they face reigning champions Ireland, kick-off at 3pm at the Aviva Stadium.
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