England eased their way past Guinness Six Nations rivals Italy 37-0 at St. James’ Park in both sides’ final World Cup warm-up game.
In a subdued opening half, nine points from England captain Owen Farrell was all that separated the two teams with the visitors doing a good job to contain the threat of the hosts.
However, tries from Ben Youngs, Ellis Genge, Joe Marchant and Anthony Watson took advantage of an increasingly tired looking Italian outfit to put a marker down ahead of their World Cup opener with Tonga and add to their 57-14 win over the same opponents in March.
Jonny May went close early on for England when Youngs’ ball bounced invitingly into his path only for Jayden Hayward to prevent a score.
Farrell converted a penalty shortly after but Italy were impressive in possession and should have had the first try when Tommaso Benvenuti dropped the ball just short of the line.
The visitors frustrated England for much of the first half although local boy Mark Wilson came close to a dream try when he knocked on after Billy Vunipola combined with May and Joe Launchbury.
It was a battling first half of few chances ended by a Farrell kick from 40 metres out which saw the hosts into a 9-0 lead at the break.
England were better after half-time though and scored their first try of the match when man of the match Youngs put the finishing touches on a fine move, scoring after prop Kyle Sinckler and Genge combined with brilliant carries.
Marchant provided another for the hosts nine minutes later when Youngs turned provider, feeding the centre who surged past the Italian defence brilliantly to score unopposed.
England pressed for more but were denied by a knock-on and forward pass but just over ten minutes from time Genge touched down as the visitors noticeably began to tire.
To put the cherry on the cake, Watson added a fourth try, accelerating around and behind the Italy defence to wrap up a comfortable win.