England got back to being themselves according to captain Owen Farrell, as they bounced back from Round 1 disappointment with a 41-18 victory over Italy at Twickenham.
Following defeat at HQ to fierce rivals Scotland last weekend, Eddie Jones’ side had to respond quickly and they did just that as they ran in six tries to get their 2021 Guinness Six Nations up and running.
Despite going behind early on to Monty Ioane’s try, Anthony Watson dotted twice while Jonny Hill, Jonny May, Jack Willis and Elliot Daly all also crossed to secure a crucial bonus-point victory.
And while Farrell accepted that there is still much to improve on, he was delighted that the work put in during midweek had come to fruition.
“We’re probably back to being us there,” said the skipper. “It’s not a perfect performance but in terms of the feeling, intent and energy, it’s back to us.
“We had some honest conversations in the week and we were excited to get back on the training field and put things right.”
The contest got off to the worst start possible for the hosts as Italy delivered a stunning early blow courtesy of Ioane’s try.
But England soon found their groove, Farrell scoring his side’s first points from the tee before Hill dotted down from close range.
Italy continued to battle hard and levelled with a penalty but Watson’s haring try put the home side ahead for the first time before May scored a stunning leaping effort – his 32nd try for England taking him second alone on his nation’s all-time list – to make it 20-8 at half-time.
Watson added his second with a perfect interception try nine minutes into the second half to secure the bonus point, before replacement Willis powered his way over.
Tommaso Allan did charge through for a second Azzurri score but Daly responded immediately with a sixth try as England got back to winning ways.
“I thought we attacked the game,” Farrell added. “They had the advantage and scored the try early on, which was probably a bit of over eagerness.
“Our intent was brilliant, we got in behind them, not everything went our way but we stuck at it.”