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Six Nations: England to build on solid foundation in Rome

| 07.02.2012

Interim head coach Stuart Lancaster appears determined to put a farcical World Cup campaign behind England, in which off-field indiscretions were the most notable activity.

Lancaster has spent his short time in charge drilling the importance and pride that comes with representing the country into his charges, and a new drive was evident in the squad as they came from behind to claim a first victory at Murrayfield since 2004.

They will now travel to Rome on Saturday to meet an unfancied Italian side, and are 1/4 shots in the Six Nations odds to collect a second consecutive away win.

While not overly impressed with the attacking play shown by his side, Lancaster was very pleased with the will and nerve shown by his squad in the Scotland victory, many of whom are inexperienced at international level.

He told BBC Sport: “We did not get everything right and we struggled to keep possession to get continuity in attack, but that was all about the players doing it for the shirt and for each other.

“It is what teams are built on, spirit, and they showed a tremendous amount of courage and spirit to play for each other and play for England.”

Their hosts on Saturday, Italy, suffered a 30-12 defeat in their opener away to France, and they are 3/1 to pull off a surprise victory against their superior travellers this time round, while the unlikely tie is priced at 25/1.

Toby Flood could return for England after coming through Leicester’s victory over Newcastle unscathed, and the 26-year-old will be desperate to go straight back into contention at fly half.

With the likes of Flood returning, and against an Italy side expected to struggle to make any sort of impact on the tournament whatsoever, it could be wise to back a ruthless England in the handicap markets, with England to win giving up an eight-point start looking good at 10/11.



John Klee