Italy vs England: A Remake of Ben-Hur

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TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSunday 13th of February at 15:00 GMT
PredictionEngland to Win
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England to Win
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We head into the second round of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations with Sunday's third match of the week, Italy vs England. You don't have to be a rugby fan to know how passionate the Italians are about everything they do, but will that make a jot of difference to the scoreline against a comparatively almighty England? It probably won't and it will reflect in the Italy vs England odds of above. I think the Sweet Chariot is going to run riot at the Stadio Olimpico; what is meant to be a rugby match will end up looking more like a ramake of Ben-Hur - maybe a sequel to Gladiator for the younger readers.

italy-england-six-nations-rugby

Overview of Italy

It doesn't look good for Italy, going into this match. Since their first appearance in 2000, they have never won the competition, have been awarded the ignoble wooden spoon a tumultuous 16 times out of 22, are currently on a 30-match losing streak, and have never beaten England in the Six Nations.

Doom and gloom out of the way, let's see if Italy are going to deliver the biggest surprise in Six Nations history.

The Strength of the Italian Head Coach

Relatively new to the role, having taken over the Italian leadership in 2021, Kieran Crowley finds himself in the Head Coach role. The New Zealander boasts several interesting playing and coaching feats: from playing full-back and centre for the All Blacks in 35 appearances to developing Taranaki in the Mitre 10 Cup and Benetton in the Peroni Top10. Will he be able to bring a lot to the Italian national team though? It's unlikely. Kiwis have done well in taking over the reigns at Northern hemisphere national teams before, but then Crowley lacks the same sort of resources, for example, that Warren Gatland had with Wales. He's certainly got a tricky challenge ahead.

The Strength of the Italian Captain

The captain for Italy is Benetton's Michele Lamaro. He is a young buck at 23, and has little experience playing for the national side, having only racked up ten caps. Some may see this as a bizarre choice, but Italy rolling the dice and hoping that youth can create something new in the team could be an interesting gamble. Let's just hope it is one that pays off for them. At least if Italy do get the hammering everyone expects, it is unlikely that blame will lie on the captain's shoulders.

The Best of the Italian Squad: Ones to Watch

Italy may not boast the best squad in the Six Nations, by some margin, but they still have some exciting players to watch.

PlayerPositionCaps for ItalyClub TeamStar Qualities
Abraham SteynFlanker46Benetton
  • 15 points in 46 tests for Italy
  • Played for South Africa U20s in 2012
  • World Cup experience in 2019
Sebastian NegriSecond Row36Benetton
  • 5 points in 36 tests for Italy
  • Played for Italy U20s
  • Played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Marco FuserSecond Row36Newcastle Falcons
  • 5 points in 36 tests for Italy
  • Played for Italy U20s and Italy A
  • Top-class rugby experience in the Premiership

The Strength of the Italian 16th Man

When it comes to Italians in any sport, not just football, passion is in everything they do. Even when the national side has been comprehensively beaten in every Six Nations match since 2015, fans of Italy rugby are always cheering their team till they end. If Italy can boast nothing else in the Six Nations, it is arguable that they have the most loyal supporters of anybody in the competition.

Overview of England

The English have invented many sports over the years, but they have been surpassed in quality at nigh on all of them by many a nation. Rugby is one of the few remaining strongholds in their sporting repertoire, and England have an impressive squad, set-up, and history of success. Let's look at why they are so domineering.

The Strength of the English Head Coach

Eddie Jones is a Head Coach of both fame and infamy. He has produced results which have astounded rugby fans in their delivery, but also never quite managed to claim the ultimate prize: the Rugby World Cup. Interestingly though, he was Head Coach when England won their solitary World Cup victory, albeit in charge of the Australian outfit.

The Strength of the English Captain

With usual England captain, Owen Farrell, out for injury for this Six Nations, the leadership returns once again to Courtney Lawes. The unlikely captain, given he nature as 'the most laid-back man in rugby', is certainly a veteran of the game, and seems a good fit to lead the troops after impressive wins in the Autumn Internationals. Let's hope he finds more of a motivating voice this competition, however, as all of the rest of the Home Nations and France will be champing at the bit to steal away the title from England at any chance they get.

The Best of the English Squad: Ones to Watch

PlayerPositionCaps for EnglandClub TeamStar Qualities
Maro ItojeSecond Row51Saracens
  • Experience as part of the British and Irish Lions
  • 2016 European Player of the Year
  • Captained England U20s
Joe MarlerProp74Harlequins
  • Has retired from international rugby several times, and is still brought back to the side
  • Two-time Premiership winner
  • Rugby World Cup 2019 runner-up
Jamie GeorgeHooker61Saracens
  • Three-time Six Nations winner
  • Scored a hat-trick against Georgia in 2020
  • Played for England U20s, U18s, and U16s

The Strength of the English 16th Man

Rugby may not be the main sport in England, but it is still a prevalent part of the English psyche. Fans are willing to travel abroad to games, and they are always a force to be reckoned with at the stadium. You can bet Swing Low will be heard all around Rome by the end of the afternoon - especially with the demolishing everyone is expecting, even by half time.

Our Overall Italy v England Match Prediction Winner

I do not need to put any close analysis into whom is going to win. This is Italy vs England we are talking about. England will smash the living daylights out of the Italian team. My greatest conundrum is whether this will be a 30-point win for England or a 50-point win. Still, at least Italian fans will get to see their team play, even if it will be another miserable affair on home turf. Here comes Ben-Hur 2!

England to Win