England start off with win

04 February 2018 12:52:14 EST

England got their Six Nations campaign underway with a 46-15 win over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The defending champions scored seven tries with Anthony Watson and Sam Simmonds both scoring twice with others from Owen Farrell, George Ford and Jack Nowell.

It was a closer game than the score suggested with the Italian scoring two tries of their own, from Tommaso Benvenuti and Mattia Bellini and they kept the game competitive until late tries added gloss to the scoreline for Eddie George's side.

England were ahead after just three minutes with Watson scoring the first try in a move involving Ben Te'o, George Ford and Jonny May.

May was again the provider for England and Watson's second but Italy got themselves to within three of England with a converted try of their own midway through the first half.

A pass from Tommaso Allan set up Benvenuti who went over with Allan adding the extra points for the conversion.
It was a fine try that added to the atmosphere in the Stadio Olimpico but, despite Italian pressure it was England who scored next, increasing their lead with Owen Farrell receiving a pass from Danny Care and going over, adding the extra points.

England extended their lead in the second period with Sam Simmonds going over; Bellini reduced the deficit, scoring Italy's second try of the game but Ford scored for England, giving them a 34-15 lead with a little over 10 minutes remaining.

There was time for England to score again. through Simmonds and Nowell before the end.

Farrell, talking to ITV, said the England side had improved throughout the game which had been perfect preparation for the future games in the competition starting with Wales coming to Twickenham next Saturday.

He said: "I'm happy. It's good that we built through the game and got better and better. We'll improve. It's a good start to campaign; now we go away and work for next week.

"It felt like they were spending time in our half early on, they put some press on us. But our lads held out and we built and built."

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