15. Alex Goode – 4.5
A wobbly afternoon for the Saracens full-back. Butchered a couple of huge overlaps with poor decision-making or poor execution. Unlikely to be sacrificed for such a big game next weekend, but needs a better performance.
14. Chris Ashton – 5
Better, but still not good enough really. He was not helped by poor decisions from men inside him, but still does not look at his best – despite almost scoring after good support work. Outclassed by opposite number McClean, never more so than for the try when he was found woefully out of position.
13. Manu Tuilagi – 5.5
A quieter afternoon for Tuilagi who was largely marshalled well by the duo of Gonzalos for Italy. That said, even though he didn’t make any obvious clean breaks he still never takes a backwards step. England need to find a way to use him more.
12. Brad Barritt – 5
Another to squander a giant overlap towards the end of the first half, he does have a habit of just putting his head down with the ball and looking for the nearest contact. Obviously vital to Lancaster’s plans, but could do with adding a distributing dimension to his game.
11. Mike Brown – 7
England’s most impressive back and again top of the metres made stats, it would be great to see Brown at full-back one of these days with a bit more space to run in. One glorious step left opposite number Venditti firmly flat-footed and almost resulted in a try.
10. Toby Flood – 5
Another mixed bag from Flood, whose kicking from the tee was exemplary while out of hand it was fairly terrible. His willingness to attack the gain-line is impressive and he has a habit of making half-breaks, but needs better support runners (as the Ashton of old used to do). He was visibly more comfortable when Youngs came on – their combination could be key next weekend if Farrell doesn’t return in time.
9. Danny Care – 4
Horrific box kick lead to Italy’s try, which will be what he is remembered for after this game. Does look dangerous when England are on the front foot, but then so does Youngs – and his box kicking is significantly better in defence. Seems to be better used as an impact sub.
1. Mako Vunipola – 7
Showed enough in his first start to suggest that he should do so again next week. Gave the much vaunted Italian pack trouble early on at the scrum (the majority of the time anyway) and ran some superb supporting lines, one of which he combined with an audacious offload that almost culminated in a try.
2. Tom Youngs – 7.5
Made 11 tackles and 10 carries, and every time he was tough to shackle. He has such a low centre of gravity that it is very difficult to knock him backwards. Seems to have banished the majority of his line-out demons, too – one lost from 14 is not a bad effort.
3. Dan Cole – 6.5
You are probably as tired of hearing it as I am of writing it, but he is so good at the breakdown. Another couple of turnovers was proof of this again, and while he could do more with ball in hand his set-piece excellence makes him invaluable nonetheless.
4. Joe Launchbury – 7
Less obvious in ball-carrying mode than he has been in previous weeks, but then he topped the tackle stats with a mammoth 16. There were a couple of errors and penalties given away in the mauls, but it was still an impressive performance from the young man.
5. Geoff Parling – 6.5
Combined with Cole to win turnover ball in the second half, and was on hand to make some hard metres on several occasions. Another solid if unspectacular performance from the Leicester lock.
6. James Haskell – 5.5
A fairly anonymous afternoon for Haskell. There were none of the boisterous ball-carries he is renowned for, and there is not much else to say really. Could be sacrificed if an actual no.8 is brought in for the Wales game.
7. Chris Robshaw – 6
No hattrick of MOTM awards, it was a quieter afternoon for the England captain. Still, he made 12 carries and 11 tackles – although the carries yielded far less ground than usual. His normally exemplary hands let him down on a couple of occasions, too.
8. Tom Wood – 6.5
Tracked back to scythe down Zanni as he galloped towards the England line in the first half, and took lots of good line-out ball. As many people have pointed out, however, he doesn’t fit the ball-carrying mould of a Morgan or a Vunipola, and England missed those metres and the front-foot ball they produce.
Replacements – 6
Courtney Lawes looked good in his 35 minute-stint for Parling after he had to exit due to a stinger on his shoulder, including that all important line-out steal at the death. Ben Youngs provided stability where it was glaringly lacking from Care, while Hartley, Twelvetrees, Croft and Marler were all tasked more with defensive duties than anything else as Italy dominated the closing stages.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43