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VIDEO - Tightness and tempo key to victory

11 February 2012

  • Rowntree wants a dynamic and economic performance from his forwards
  • England looking to neutralise Parisse and Castrogivani in the loose

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree says that his pack needs to excel in their discipline and ball retention if England are to win in Rome this afternoon.

Speaking after the side’s final training session of the week, which was held in heavy rain and near freezing temperatures, Rowntree said: “Discipline’s going to be a key for us, a huge key in terms of showing the referee that we want to play, and also possession in these conditions as well. Then we’re just relying on our basics, our basics have got to be exceptional in terms of set piece and the tackle area.”

Two of Italy’s most potent threats in the tackle and the loose are tight head prop Martin Castrogiovani and captain, Sergio Parisse. According to Rowntree curtailing them early in the game will set the tone for England.

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree looks on during an England training session

Photo: Getty Images

“They’ve got lots of good players but those two, Castrogiovani and Parisse who’s their talisman, they like to carry the ball a lot so we’ll be looking to give them some special attention early in the game.

“The upmost thing we’ll be looking to do though is play at tempo, get in, get the lineout going, get there get the scrum going we want to play with tempo and that’s what we’ve been doing this week to tidy those things up."

Against France last weekend, Italy won ten of their eleven lineouts and all of their scrums. They boast a combine total of over 100 caps in their front row, and Rowntree is eager to test his trio of Alex CorbisieroDylan Hartley and Dan Cole against the Italians: “Coming to Rome and playing against the likes of Ghiraldini, Lo Cicero, Castrogioviani, they’re all household names so this’ll be a real test and a real challenge to our front row, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond to that test,” he said.