England beat Italy 47-17 to maintain perfect start to Six Nations campaign
Last Updated: 15/02/15 3:51pm
England shook off a slow start to score six tries and beat Italy 47-17 in their Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Much was expected from England after their impressive performance against Wales last weekend, but Italy were not intimidated and took an early lead after Sergio Parisse scored with just four minutes on the clock.
England finally stepped into gear and two tries from Jonathan Joseph, plus scores from Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter saw England back up their opening win with a home victory based on forward power.
Italy had not scored a Test try for 254 minutes but they stunned England as the powerful Parisse, who grabbed the previous one against Samoa in November, bulldozed his way over.
There were more concerns for England as full-back Mike Brown became rugby's latest concussion victim. He appeared to be knocked cold and was taken out of the match after just 12 minutes. His head collided with the shoulder of Italy centre Andrea Masi and he was treated on the field before being taken off on a stretcher.
But he soon recovered and was not taken to hospital but took a seat in the dugout to watch the rest of the match.
England started to dominate in the forwards but they could still not get away from Italy - in fact with 30 minutes still to play England were just 18-10 ahead. However, a strong second half display against a tiring Italian side finally saw them home and gave the scoreline a touch of gloss.
George Ford's boot put the hosts on the scoreboard and England managed to put their noses in front with a slightly controversial try from Vunipola.
It appeared the Saracens forward had been forced into touch in the left-hand corner by desperate late Italian tackling from captain Parisse and scrum-half Edoardo Gori. Vunipola surged forward and, after watching a series of replays, referee John Lacey awarded the try even though it seemed inconclusive.
England's next attack saw the impressive Joseph show off his pace and skill to burst through a hole in the Italian defence and the Bath youngster crossed the visitors' line for Ford to convert.
Ford kicked another penalty at the start of the second-half but Morisi showed a fine turn of speed to defy tacklers before scrambling across the England line for his side's second try.
The England response was swift with scrum-half Youngs darting over from the back of a scrum.
England were now dominant and Joseph raced through a large Italian hole for his second. Cipriani then came off the bench to replace Ford and with his first touch in a Test since 2008, the Sale Sharks fly-half took Jonny May's pass to stroll across the line for a try and a dream international return.
Nick Easter went over next as the 36-year-old became the oldest player to score a try for England. He sunk to the bottom of an England rolling maul which pushed Italy back over their line.
Morisi dived over in the corner for his second and Italy's third try to finsish strongly but England were too far ahead for any sort of comeback.