England starts 6 Nations defence by crushing Italy 46-15

England starts 6 Nations defence by crushing Italy 46-15

Youngs was forced off in the ninth minute with what looked like a nasty knee injury and the scrum-half may now be facing a significant period on the sidelines.

Shortly after, Youngs went down with what looked like a nasty knee injury after his left leg appeared to get trapped in the ruck.

"It wasn't ideal but it was very, very positive". Sam Simmonds was in his element when the game opened up.

Ben Te'o has made a quick return to fitness following an ankle injury and is preferred at centre, alongside Owen Farrell, to Jonathan Joseph. Eddie Jones has known nothing but success in the competition during his tenure having backed up a Grand Slam triumph with their championship defence in 2017.

"Great to get @EnglandRugby #6Nations off to a winning start".

England kicked on at the break though, and tries from George Ford and Nowell, on top of Watson's early double and Farrell's score before half-time, meant that Jones' side move on to next Saturday's home clash with Wales with momentum and confidence behind them.

"It only makes me hungrier to go on and see how far I can push myself and how good a player I can become".

'At the end of the game we played some lovely rugby'.

Their defensive organisation in the first half, in particular, left plenty to be desired and England did not have to split the atom to create several of their tries.

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They made it look hard at times but it's a case of job done for England as they escape the often tricky opening match against Italy with a bonus-point win on a final scoreline of 15-46.

Owen Farrell missed the first two conversions but he racked up England's third try - only his sixth try in 54 worldwide matches - and added the extras on that occasion as well as on his next three attempts.

A minute later Watson had his second try with Ford linking up with Jonny May to sear through midfield before releasing his fellow wing to superbly dive over in the corner.

"And that's how we want to play against Italy - a really physical game and set the tone for the tournament".

'Ben will have an examination today so we'll know more after that, ' he said.

Italy thought they had hit back with a try from Boni, but his score was ruled out on video review for a forward pass by Allan.

England's training leading into Sunday's opener against Italy is said to have been intense, both during their time in Portugal last week and more recently at their Pennyhill Park base in Bagshot.

However, there are clear signs of improvement under coach Conor O'Shea despite Italy's continued problems in defence.

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