Eddie Jones described his side’s NatWest 6 Nations opener as a “positive start” as they opened their campaign with a 46-15 bonus-point victory over Italy.
England are bidding to become the first side to win three consecutive NatWest 6 Nations titles and they returned from Rome with a seven-try win.
“It’s a very positive start,” said Jones.
“We always knew it was going to be a tough game, they played exceptionally well and full credit to Italy. Conor O’Shea is doing a great job coaching them and it was a good tough game of rugby and we ran away with it in the end.”
'He's got gas'
Exeter Chiefs backrow forward Sam Simmonds scored two tries on his tournament debut and Jones was full of praise for the No 8.
Simmonds ended the match as the fans’ man of the match, with two tries, six gainline breaks and 23 tackles and Jones believes he is a great addition to the squad.
“Our scrum was superb, Italy were renowned as a good scrummaging country but we’ve done a lot of work in that area and our line out was also good,” said Jones.
“When the game opened up he was in his element. He’s got gas and he does all our speed work with the backs as he’s that quick. He’s a great discovery for us, he gives us great options at No 8.”
Italy scored two tries which Jones put down to “individual discipline errors” but England were also able to hand an international debut to Alec Hepburn in Rome.
“It was great for Alec Hepburn to come on for his first Test, he would have enjoyed being part of a dominant scrum, having his mate Harry Williams on the other side,” said Jones. “There was plenty of hair in that front row.”