England returned to the victory trail in the Six Nations when they claimed a 57-14 bonus-point win over Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a one-sided affair with England dominating most facets of play and they eventually outscored their visitors by eight tries to two with Manu Tuilagi and Brad Shields crossing for a brace apiece.
The result means England are still in second position in the standings but they have narrowed the gap to a point behind table-toppers Wales, who beat Scotland earlier on Saturday.
England made their intentions known from the outset by running the ball from all areas of the field and they were soon camped inside the Azzurri’s half. In the eighth minute, Jamie George opened the scoring when he barged over off the back of a driving maul deep inside Italy’s 22.
That try did not deter the visitors, who also gave the ball plenty of air, and they opened their account shortly afterwards. This, courtesy of a fine try from Tommaso Allan, who spotted a gap in the English defence before selling Joe Cokanasiga an outrageous dummy on his way over the try-line.
Allan dusted himself off and added the conversion from close to the touchline, which meant the sides were level at 7-7 after 15 minutes.
But that would be the last time Italy would add points during the half as England scored three further tries which secured them a try-scoring bonus point before the interval.
First, Elliot Daly made a superb line break before offloading to Jonny May, who cantered in for his fifth try of the tournament. Then, midway through the half, Tuilagi’s power and speed proved too much for his opponents as he set off on a barnstorming run from the halfway line before scoring his side’s third five-pointer.
Owen Farrell added the extras before slotting a penalty which gave his side a comfortable 24-7 lead by the 26th minute.
And in the 32nd minute, Shields ran onto a pass from Tuilagi and outpaced the cover defence on his way over the try-line to notch his first Test try.
Farrell succeeded with his fourth conversion and England were cruising as the teams changed sides at half-time.
The home side’s dominance continued during the early stages of the second of half and Tuilagi was rewarded with his second try in the 47th minute after forwards and backs combined in the build-up.
Despite being comprehensively outplayed, Italy did not surrender and in the 55th minute Luca Morisi gathered a long pass from Allan before diving over in the left-hand corner.
But just like the first half, the Azzurri could not build momentum after scoring points and England regained the initiative with further tries from George Kruis and Dan Robson which gave them a 50-14 lead by the 69th minute.
And just before the end, Kruis charged down an attempted clearance from Tito Tebaldi before Shields regathered the loose ball to cross for his second try which sealed an emphatic win for England.
Tries: George, May, Tuilagi 2, Shields 2, Kruis, Robson
Cons: Farrell 4, Ford 3
Tries: Allan, Morisi
Cons: Allan 2