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Italy v England – story of the match

More detail from the match in Rome.

Italy v England – NatWest 6 Nations – Stadio Olimpico
Italy v England – NatWest 6 Nations – Stadio Olimpico

England’s quest for an unprecedented hat-trick of Six Nations titles was launched by a 46-15 victory over Italy that produced a late flurry of tries.

The champions exploded out of the blocks by crossing twice through Anthony Watson inside the opening 10 minutes, but the overwhelming win their early onslaught appeared to signpost only materialised in the closing stages..

In the end Italy’s whitewash was breached seven times in the bonus-point visit to the Stadio Olimpico, but England were made to work by a team that had nine starters with 10 caps or less.

Tweet of the match

“Great to get @EnglandRugby #6Nations off to a winning start. Roll on next week v @WelshRugbyUnion at Twickers! @SixNationsRugby”. Former England winger (@Jason15Robinson) hails a convincing victory.

Star man – Sam Simmonds

Simmonds may not have been Eddie Jones’ first choice at number eight but with Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes out injured, the Exeter forward made the very most of his chance. Two tries, 23 tackles, 14 carries and 80 metres made. A superb performance.

Stat attack

In the 30th minute, Owen Farrell earned his 750th metre in an England shirt.

Point of concern

England were too easily carved open out wide for two Italy tries but as well as his defence, Jones will also be sweating on the fitness of Ben Youngs. Youngs was forced off in the ninth minute with what looked like a nasty knee injury and the scrum-half may now be facing a significant period on the sidelines.

Newcastle v Leicester – Aviva Premiership – Kingston Park

Who’s up next?

England v Wales (Six Nations, February 10)

Ireland v Italy (Six Nations, February 10)

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