London - Eddie Jones described his side’s Six Nations opener as a
“positive start” as they opened their campaign with a 46-15 bonus-point victory
England are bidding to become the first side to win three
consecutive Six Nations titles and they returned from Rome with a seven-try
“We always knew it was going to be a tough game, they played
exceptionally well and full credit to Italy," said Jones.
"Conor O’Shea is doing a great job coaching them and it
was a good tough game of rugby and we ran away with it in the end.”
Exeter Chiefs back row forward Sam Simmonds scored two tries
on his tournament debut and Jones was full of praise for the number eight.
Simmonds ended the match as the fans’ man of the match, with
two tries, six gain line breaks and 23 tackles and Jones believes he is a great
addition to the squad.
“Our scrum was superb, Italy were renowned as a good
scrummaging country but we’ve done a lot of work in that area and our line out
was also good,” said the coach.
“When the game opened up he was in his element. He’s got gas
and he does all our speed work with the backs as he’s that quick. He’s a great
discovery for us, he gives us great options at number eight.”
Italy scored two tries which Jones put down to “individual
discipline errors” but England were also able to hand an international debut to
Alec Hepburn in Rome.
“It was great for Alec Hepburn to come on for his first
Test, he would have enjoyed being part of a dominant scrum, having his mate
Harry Williams on the other side,” said Jones.
“There was plenty of hair in that frontrow.”