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England wing Jack Nowell has praised teammate Sam Simmonds for his impact against Italy on Sunday, labelling him as 'one of the quickest' he has played with.
Simmonds struck twice in Rome as Eddie Jones' men downed the Azzuri 46-15 in their NatWest 6 Nations opener, and in doing so, was the first England forward to achieve the feat in the competition since James Haskell in 2010.
"For him to pick up two tries and play as well as he did is pleasing for him and the coaches will be happy," said Nowell.
"He’s a bit of a freak, isn’t he? He’s up there as one of the quickest I’ve played with. A lot of players here have been saying how quick he is, but he’s got a big backside so that’s where the power comes from.
"He’s been doing it all season for us at Exeter, and for the last couple of years, so for him to be able to put an England shirt on and do it on a big stage like this is awesome."
Brothers in arms
England got off to a blistering start thanks to some quick phase play and world class finishing from wing Anthony Watson, who bagged two tries in the opening 10 minutes.
And although Italy fought back through scores from Tommaso Benvenuti and Mattia Bellini, as well as five points from the boot of fly half Tommaso Allan, the reigning champions proved too much in the latter stages as George Ford, Simmonds and Nowell all crossed the whitewash to record a comfortable victory.
"That’s the belief we have as a team, no matter what game you’re playing in or what team you’re with you want to give it your all and give 100% and give anything to win," added Nowell.
"The belief the coaches give you here in that if you are doing it for your club, then there is no reason why you can’t do it for England – although it is harder."
By the 80 minute mark, Exeter Chiefs were well represented with Nowell, Harry Williams and debutant Alec Hepburn all on the field, and it was a moment the 24-year-old wing will cherish.
"It was awesome to have all the Chiefs boys there together at the end," he explained.
"For Alec Hepburn to come on and win his first cap was great and it was a special moment out there when Sam scored and we celebrated with the Chiefs boys around."