In the Six Nations at Twickenham, England defeated Italy with pragmatism to gain its first victory under Steve Borthwick.
Ollie Chessum scored the second try after Jack Willis scored the first to celebrate his comeback to the team.
Jamie George added a third goal from close range, but Italy responded through Marco Riccioni after the break.
Alessandro Fusco scored a consolation try, Henry Arundell scored a fifth, and a penalty try clinched the bonus.
The victory takes the hosts to third place in the standings, above the defending champions France on points differential, while Italy drops to fifth. This is the hosts’ 30th victory in 30 games with Italy.
After the weekend break, Borthwick’s team plays Wales in Cardiff on February 25 while the Azzurri host the world’s best team, Ireland, earlier that day.
Italy vs. England: what happened
Standings for the Six Nations after two rounds
Underwhelming England completes the task
The aim for England was straightforward: overcome Six Nations underachievers Italy and gain momentum at the start of the Borthwick era after a tight opening round loss to Scotland.
Although the main goal may have been accomplished, this effort by England during the first 70 minutes was anything from classic.
Willis was a standout performer who worked relentlessly to chase down everything wearing a royal blue shirt before getting the first try as compensation for his defensive effort.
The Toulouse back row benefited as England used a line-out maneuver from the practice field to bulldoze their way across the finish line.
After inviting contact close to the line and flicking off the ball for his former Leicester Tigers teammate to finish, Ellis Genge displayed delicate hands to hand Chessum the second.
Former lock Borthwick’s warm-up involvement with his pack has become synonymous with the line-out ladder, and it appears that the effort is paying off as George tossed the ball before joining the back of the maul and completing the third.
After the half, Italy was given a penalty try because of their lack of discipline at the breakdown, but Twickenham cheered the loudest when the thrilling Arundell came off the bench because they wanted more loose rugby.
The wing saw little action, but he was there to take advantage as a fellow replacement. Lately, Alex Mitchell observed a weakness in the weary Azzurri defense and fed him, allowing him to break through and deliver a spectacular corner finish.
Young Italy team keeps becoming better
In their opening match against the Grand Slam champions France, Italy came incredibly near to pulling off a major upset, but they finally fell short.
At one point, facing England at Twickenham was a very different challenge. Prior to Sunday, the Azzurri had failed to defeat England in any of their 29 attempts, yet they played with a fluidity that their opponents lacked.
As they attempted to maintain possession of the ball, they had greater possession (52%) and generated 286 more meters than England.
In the first 40 minutes, the visitors failed to threaten the goalkeepers, but Riccioni commemorated his first international appearance since November 2021 with a strong surge while many Twickenham supporters were still seated at the start of the second half.
Ange Capuozzo was a continuous threat as he skimmed the ground and repeatedly twisted himself out of peril. Fusco scored a second try by riding the tackle and diving in at full stretch to give the away supporters some hope.
However, Italy’s offensive intent must be commended as this young team, with an average age of 26, continues to play a fast-paced style. However, Italy’s lack of discipline cost them as they allowed two tries in the first half while Lorenzo Cannone was in the sin bin.
Player of the game
Ollie Lawrence ran inside center for 10 carries and gained 80 yards.
What former England scrum-half stated On BBC Radio 5 Live, Danny Care “I believe the coaches and Steve Borthwick will be pleased. England returned to their fundamentals, attacking well, kicking accurately, and being decisive when given the opportunity.
“England is about to play better teams than they do now, that much is obvious. Wales will play England despite having played poorly throughout the entire competition.
“How excellent this England team is, though, will be shown by how they perform against Ireland away and France at home.
“Fair play to Italy; they persisted in that position. If everything works out, I believe they will win this competition.
Steward, Malins, Slade, Lawrence, Hassell-Collins, Farrell (captain), Van Poortvliet, Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Chessum, Ludlam, Willis, and Dombrandt are the English players.
Walker, M. Vunipola, Cole, Isiekwe, Earl, Mitchell, M. Smith, and Arundell are the replacements.
Capuozzo, Padovani, Brex, Morisi, Menoncello, Allan, Varney, Fischetti, Nicotera, Riccioni, N Cannone, Ruzza, Negri, Lamaro, L Cannone are all Italian authors.
Bigi, Zani, Ferrari, Iachizzi, Polledri, Zuliani, Fusco, and Bruno are the replacements.
Officials of the game James Doleman (Nzl)
Mathieu Raynal (Fra) and Tual Trainini, touch judges (Fra)
Eric Gauzins, TMO (Fra)