15. Luke McLean: 6
A busy performance from McLean, who took some of the playmaking responsibility away from his 10. Solid fare.
14. Leonardo Sarto: 4
Couldn’t impose himself on the game as others did, and threw the unfortunate miss pass that allowed Joseph in for the try that sparked England into life.
13. Michele Campagnaro: 7
Can’t be held accountable for any of his opposite number’s tries. Carried with immense intent and to good effect whenever he had the ball.
12. Gonzalo Garcia: 6.5
Imagine Jamie Roberts could kick from the tee and had a massive ginger beard. Then you’d have something close to what Garcia offers – Italy were immensely poorer for his absence after being forced off with injury.
11. Mattia Bellini: 6.5
Looked far more dangerous than Sarto, although he was never quite able to fully free himself from the English defence’s grasp.
10. Carlo Canna: 7
Confirmed that last week’s performance wasn’t a flash in the pan, again taking the ball to the line and varying his game with some (mostly) delightful chip kicks behind England’s defence. Goal-kicking was vastly improved also.
9. Edoardo Gori: 5.5
Jones marked him out as a threat before the game, but that never really materialised as England’s fringe defence was vastly superior to Italy’s.
1. Andrea Lovotti: 5
Tough day at the office for Lovotti who conceded three penalties before being substituted.
2. Ornel Gega: 6
The line-out ran smoothly enough, but there was little else to shout about from Gega’s performance.
3. Lorenzo Cittadini: 6
Dealt fine with Mako Vunipola at scrum-time but as he began to tire and Joe Marler’s set piece influence increased, the scrum certainly started to creak.
4. George Biagi: 8
Italy’s man of the match. Powerfully physical at times, and with an exceptional workrate – his tally of 13 tackles was four more than any other player.
5. Marco Fuser: 5
Forced off with injury before he could have any influence on the game.
6. Francesco Minto: 6
Offered himself as a runner on plenty of occasions, but failed to make any significant dents in the English defensive line.
7. Alessandro Zanni: 5
Like Fuser, was forced off in the first half before showing what he could do.
8. Sergio Parisse: 7.5
The most astonishing thing about Parisse is his workrate. He made more carries than anyone else on his team, which is normal, but he also made more passes than everyone but the starting half-backs. Didn’t always influence proceedings with his contributions in this game, but it was brimming with passion again.
The replacement front row really struggled to deal with the combination of a fresh Joe Marler and a just excellent Dan Cole. The only man to impress off the timber was former Springbok U20 captain Brahm Steyn, who was a real livewire in the back-row.
15. Mike Brown: 6
The usual solid stuff from Brown, whose excellence in the air was plain to see again, but when are we going to start asking questions about his distributing skills in attack? They just aren’t there at the moment.
14. Anthony Watson: 7.5
One second half burst of acceleration proved how lethal he can be on the counter, while his ripping of Gonzalo Garcia and some good work at the breakdown shows that he is a more rounded player than a year ago.
13. Jonathan Joseph: 8
One superb finish, one good read for an intercept, and one walk-win. More encouraging than his hattrick, however, was his willingness on occasion to step back inside, or run a hard line, rather than simply try the hitch-kick and outside arc that has largely become readable.
12. Owen Farrell: 7.5
Cut a beautiful supporting line for his try and there were a couple of deft touches in the build-up to other tries. Such are the improvements in his game going forward that he is currently England’s best play-maker.
11. Jack Nowell: 5.5
It just didn’t click for Nowell in this game. He often found himself running up blind allies, which wasn’t always his own fault admittedly.
10. George Ford: 6
A thoroughly mixed bad from Ford, who finished a try superbly but still seemed unsure of himself in a couple of situations in which, last season, he would have trusted his instincts.
9. Ben Youngs: 7.5
Some marvellous sniping runs were simply too good for the Italian defence to deal with, but his score is tempered slightly by some ankle-bashing service and a couple of wayward kicks.
1. Mako Vunipola: 6.5
The scrum was solid, if not dominant, during his time on the pitch, and he was busy in the loose with his carrying.
2. Dylan Hartley: 5
The lineout was a complete nightmare, although how much of that was his own fault and how much of it was Kruis continually calling the ball to himself, we can’t be sure. As the hooker, though, he will always take some of the flak.
3. Dan Cole: 7.5
Another great shift from Cole, who is rapidly returning to the world-class prop of a few years ago. Strong in the scrum and a nuisance at the breakdown, and impressive longevity once again to play 70 minutes.
4. Courtney Lawes: 6
An OK stint from Lawes, although he did nothing to suggest that on current form he deserves to be starting ahead of Launchbury.
5. George Kruis: 8
A monumental shift in the loose, as powerful and athletic as any you will see this Six Nations – but he must lose a point as the line-out caller for the troubles there. In general, though, is there another man that has improved so immeasurably under the new coaching staff?
6. Chris Robshaw: 6.5
One textbook ‘jackal’ was encouraging to see, and there was the usual high work-rate in defence to finish as joint top tackler with 13.
7. James Haskell: 7
Some of the hits he put in were huge, reminiscent of Lydiate at his best in the way that they sapped momentum from Italy’s attack way behind the gainline.
8. Billy Vunipola: 8
Vunipola junior was once again hugely effective on the gainline, while he also managed to find room for a couple of offloads – something that could definitely take him to the next level as a player. One such pass played a key role in England’s first try.
England’s bench ultimately made the difference. Joe Marler was bone-crunchingly physical with his tackling and similarly effective at the scrum. Danny Care upped the tempo, scampering around as only he can and putting in a gorgeous kick for Joseph’s second.
Maro Itoje’s sheer athleticism was plain for all to see, while Jamie George’s offload for Farrell’s try was indicative of a front-row forward with alarming handling ability. And Alex Goode, much maligned in the past, added a different dimension to England’s attack from the back with his stuttering style and fine distribution opening gaps for others.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images