London - Centre Jonathan Joseph grabbed a brace of tries as
England gained their second win in the Six Nations Championship and swept aside
a brave Italian side 47-17 with a dominant second half display at Twickenham.
No 8 Billy Vunipola, scrumhalf Ben Youngs and replacements
Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter also went over for England, who again fell
behind in a game before rallying and then surging clear.
They had been stunned by a fine early try from Italy captain
Sergio Parisse while centre Luca Morisi also crossed twice for the visitors in
the second half.
England fullback Mike Brown became rugby's latest concussion
victim as he was knocked cold and out of the match after just 12 minutes. His
head collided with the shoulder of Italy centre Andrea Masi and he was treated
on the field before being taken off on a stretcher.
But he soon recovered and was not taken to hospital but took
a seat in the dugout to watch the rest of the match.
"It's going great. It's great to get the win today. The
boys showed great spirit to come back and get the win," Joseph, who ended
up on the wing after Brown went off, told the BBC.
England eventually ran out easy winners with a strong second
half display against a tiring Italian side, which had been beaten 26-3 by the
Irish in Rome the week before.
Italy head coach Jacques Brunel said: "We started fine
but then it all went wrong. You must play at a high level for 80 minutes not
just 20 minutes in the Six Nations."
The visitors had not scored a Test try for 254 minutes. Yet
they stunned England after just three minutes as the powerful Parisse, who
grabbed the previous one against Samoa in November, bull-dozed his way over.
"Jonathan Joseph was outstanding. It was a big shift to
put him on the wing as it's not ideal but with Browny's injury it was an
obvious one for us to put Anthony to full-back having played there for his club
and JJ on the wing," said England coach Stuart Lancaster.
"He still found a way to influence the game which is
"We shall see how it goes with Mike Brown. It helps the
fact that it is two weeks and a day before we play Ireland but we will take him
through the return to play protocol. I spoke to him in the changing room and he
was grumpy that he had to miss the game and frustrated - he is grumpy
England lost Brown with concussion in a painful collision as
the Harlequins man attempted to intercept flyhalf Kelly Haimona's chip through
as Italy went back on the attack.
But, as he went to catch the ball, Masi got to it first and
the Italian's right shoulder clattered into the side of Brown's head.
Brown was left flat out on the grass unmoving and with blood
dripping from his nose.
George Ford's boot put the hosts on the scoreboard and
England managed to put their noses in front with a slightly controversial try
It appeared the Saracens forward had been forced into touch
in the left-hand corner by desperate late Italian tackling from captain Parisse
and scrumhalf Edoardo Gori.
Vunipola surged forward and, after watching a series of
replays, referee John Lacey awarded the try even though it seemed inconclusive.
England's next attack saw the impressive Joseph show off his
pace and skill to burst through a hole in the Italian defence and the Bath
youngster crossed the visitors' line for Ford to convert.
Ford kicked another penalty at the start of the second-half
but Morisi showed a fine turn of speed to defy tacklers before scrambling
across the England line for his side's second try.
The England response was swift with scrum-half Youngs
darting over from the back of a scrum.
England were dominant as first Joseph raced through a large
Italian hole for his second. Cipriani came off the bench to replace Ford and
with his first touch in a Test since 2008, the Sale Sharks fly-half took Jonny
May's pass to stroll across the line for a try. A dream international return.
Nick Easter went over next as the 36-year-old became the
oldest player to score a try for England. He sunk to the bottom of an England
rolling maul which pushed Italy back over their line.
Morisi dived over in the corner for his second and Italy's
third try but it was too late for a revival from the visitors.