- England: Tries Blamire, Curry, Mercer, Aspland-Robinson, Bayliss 2, Parton 2 Cons Umaga 2, Smith
- Italy: 0
England secured their third bonus-point win of the 2017 Six Nations with an eight-try 46-0 victory over Italy at the Northern Echo Arena.
The hosts led 17-0 at half-time scoring three tries through their forwards Jamie Blamire, Ben Curry and captain Zach Mercer while Jacob Umaga added the extras in an opening half played in tough conditions.
England improved in the second period as Sam Aspland-Robinson, Josh Bayliss (2) and Tom Parton (2) all crossed with Umaga also sending over a conversion.
It means England have now scored 21 tries from their opening three games and next face Scotland at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton.
It took both sides a while to get used to the pitch in Darlington but England’s forward soon got to grips with the game and their power proved too much for Italy.
Blamire barged over after collecting an Italy overthrow at the back of a 5m line out. Ten minutes later Curry bundled over for England’s second try before Mercer, captaining England U20s for the first time, seared through Italy’s midfield to cross.
The Bath back-row forward picked the ball up off the back of a 5m scrum and powered through three tackles to barge over.
England had the bonus point shortly after the restart with Aspland-Robinson flying down the right wing to collect Alex Mitchell’s clever grubber kick through the Italy defence and touch down.
He was denied another soon after with Italy crucially grounding ahead of him.
Marcus Street and Henry Walker both came on for their U20 debuts before Mercer showed power and pace to release Bayliss on the left wing and the flanker finished it off with ease.
Marcus Smith and Rory Brand were also on for their debuts at this level as England’s coaches took the opportunity to give several players experience of U20 rugby. They were later joined by fellow debutants 17-year-old Ted Hill and Max Davies.
Italy lost another player to the sin bin after Aspland-Robisnon was tackled in the air and the resultant penalty was kicked to the corner.
England caught and drove to the Italy line and Bayliss bundled over off the back of a driving maul.
Bayliss in fact only came into the side at late notice, having originally been named on the bench, but an injury to Jack Nay saw him promoted to the starting XV.
The rout continued as Parton finished off an England break, flying over on the left wing for 39-0
Red hot Curry
Italy ended the game with a late flurry but England showed great defence to hold them out with Curry central to that and Parton rounded things off with another try in the corner.
And after a performance which saw him score one try as well as make seven carries and nine tackles Curry was named man-of-the-match.
"It was a great effort from the lads, especially in these conditions, the forwards really fronted up and we showed good physicality," said Sale Sharks' Curry.
"The conditions were tough but the fact we were able to adapt to them shows our adaptability and versatility."
Mercer added: "To be captain is a massive honour as is to lead the players out. Scotland will be tough, they are our next game and we are really looking forward to it. We have a week off and then we're back for it."
England U20 coach Louis Deacon hailed his side's dominance in the set piece and paid tribute to them following the performance.
“We knew the set-piece is a huge asset for the Italians so it was really pleasing that we dominated in that area," said Deacon.
"It was important we kept the pace high in the game to make sure we didn’t give Italy any momentum and I thought we did that very well.
“We made a lot of changes for this match and the fact the players were able to adapt and keep on top until the end is a huge credit to this group. With the weather the way it is, the support from crowd was outstanding and the guys fed off that this evening.”
England U20: 15. Tom Parton (London Irish), 14. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins), 13. Dominic Morris (Saracens), 12. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie), 11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 10. Jacob Umaga (Wasps), 9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 1. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby), 2. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), 3. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby), 4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs), 5. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), 6. Josh Bayliss, 7. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), 8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby - captain).
Replacements: 16. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 17. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby), 18. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 19. Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons), 20. Ted Hill (Worcester), 21. Rory Brand (London Irish), 22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins), 23. Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish).
Italy Under-20s: Cioffi, Bronzini, Vaccari, Zanon, D'Onofrio, Rizzi, Trussardi, Licata, Masselli, Bianchi, Venditti, Baldino, Zilocchi, Ceciliani, Rimpelli.
Replacements: Rollero, Fischetti, Mancini Parri, Iachizzi, Casolari, Fusco, Diondelli, Dal Zilio