England got their Six Nations campaign up and running on Sunday with a comfortable 33-0 win over Italy in Rome to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Scotland.
Eddie Jones’ side swept in five tries at the Stadio Olimpico as England inflicted a 34th straight Six Nations defeat on the Italians and moved three points behind leaders France.
Jamie George crossed twice with Marcus Smith, Elliot Daly and Kyle Sinckler adding further tries and Smith kicking eight points for an England side who were in control from the off.
For the Italians it was another harsh demonstration of how far they are behind the world’s leading teams as they spent much of the match trying to hold off attacks from an England team with six changes from the side that lost to Scotland.
“We put a big emphasis on today, we were very disappointed after Murrayfield,” Smith told ITV.
“Eddie spoke about the next job and we have put ourselves back in it with that win today.”
He added: “I’ve never played here before, there was a special atmosphere, with loads of England fans having come out. We had to put a show on for them, we were a bit scrappy and credit to Italy but to score 33 points is always nice.”
Italy surprised the French last weekend with a fast start but it didn’t take long for England to assert their superiority.
Smith put the first points on the board with nine minutes on the clock when, after a move which swept to the left flank, he exchanged passes with Max Malins and charged over before dusting himself off to convert his own try.
Ten minutes later George dotted down with the first of his tries, the powerful hooker forcing home the five points after Harry Randall had carried the ball to Italy’s try line following a line out.
It was from another line-out that Maro Itoje thought he had added England’s third in the 32nd minute.
The 27-year-old collected before crossing with the rest of a powerful England ruck, but the TMO spotted that Nick Isiekwe was offside and ruled out the try.
However, George made sure that England ended the half on a high with his second try of the day, showing the backs how to do it by collecting prop Ellis Genge’s nicely delivered pass before diving over to take the half-time score to 21-0 after Smith cooly converted.
Daly earned England their bonus point four minutes after the break when, after a scrum, Smith managed to get the ball out to the marauding replacement who ran through to dot down.
It looked as though England might continue to run in tries but to their credit Italy then had a brief spell trying to hammer their way through England’s 22.
However, Sinckler rounded off the scoring with eight minutes remaining after Alessandro Fusco fumbled a high ball to allow England possession in Italy’s 22 and make the win even more emphatic.