|Italy provide England with a statement of intent early on|
England have secured the second victory of their 6 Nations campaign against Italy with a convincing 47-17 win over a tenacious Italian side. While many expected England to comfortably out-do the visitors', Italy made life particularly difficult for the hosts in the opening exchanges, preventing England from getting a dominant foothold in the game throughout the best part of the first half. While a 30-point lead at full-time caused many an English fan opportunity for celebration, England will be aware of the missed opportunities they left out on the pitch.
Lancaster's faith in his unchanged match-day squad was rewarded by a controlled performance high in both attacking intensity and defensive physicality. After the loss of Mike Brown to a head injury, the back-line was considerably shaken up; with Josephs moving to wing and Watson filling in at fullback England could have lost their structure and dominance over the game. However, the rearrangement barely ruffled an English feather and the hosts upped-the-anti to close out the win. Individual performances were again key to England's success and in particular that of Jonathan Josephs who scored two tries to help secure victory for his team. England's back row was once more crucial to England's momentum with flankers Haskell and Robshaw putting in monumental shifts and number 8 Billy Vunipola carrying monstrously in to the Italian defence.
|Jonathan Joseph goes over for his second try against Italy|
Although Italy provided moments of dangerous intent for the hosts, England's complete team performance weathered the intermittent Italian storms to seal off a comfortable victory. While the display was far from perfect with the help of some rueful mistakes and rough patches, England showed a purpose and determination that stands them in good stead for their round three encounter with defending champions, Ireland.