Twickenham - England coach Eddie Jones accused Italy of playing "Trevor Chappell" rugby after the Azzurri threatened a huge upset in Sunday's Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Jones's men eventually won 36-15 but only after turning around a 5-10 half-time deficit, with Italy wing Giovanbattista Venditti scoring a try on the stroke of half-time after Tommaso Allan's penalty attempt came back off the post.
That capped a remarkable opening period where Italy frustrated England by standing off the ruck and defending in numbers.
England were convinced that the delivery of scrumhalf Danny Care's pass was being repeatedly interfered with by Italy players who were in an offside position, but French referee Romain Poite allowed the tactic.
Tournament leaders England eventually regained their composure to score five second-half tries through Care, Elliot Daly, Jack Nowell (two) and Ben Te'o as they stayed on course for back-to-back Grand Slams.
But afterwards cricket fan Jones compared Italy's approach to the infamous 'underarm' climax of an Australia-New Zealand one-day international in 1981.
With New Zealand needing six off the last ball to tie the match in Melbourne, Australia captain Greg Chappell instructed brother Trevor to roll the ball along the pitch.
That made it impossible for tailend batsman Brian McKechnie - also an New Zealand rugby international - to hit a six.
Australia's tactics were within the rules as they stood, although these were subsequently altered to prevent all underarm bowling in future one-day internationals.
"Remember Trevor Chappell?," said Jones. "Bowled under arm along the ground. Couldn't hit the ball for six. We saw a Trevor Chappell game of rugby today."
The Australian added: "Congratulations to Italy. I thought they were brilliant in the execution, but if that's rugby, I'm going to retire. That's not rugby.
"If your halfback (scrumhalf) can't pass the ball, then there's something wrong with the game.
"If you paid for your ticket, ask for your money back. I'll have to give my money back to Ian Ritchie (the chief executive of England's Rugby Football Union), because no-one's had rugby yet."
Jones though was pleased by a result that left England top of the Six Nations and just one victory away from equalling New Zealand's all-time record of 18 successive Test wins by a tier one or leading rugby union nation.
"If you said where we wanted to be at the end of three rounds, we're exactly there.
"We're in a perfect position to go on and win the Six Nations."
'CAN'T BE NORMAL'
Meanwhile Italy coach Conor O'Shea said he was "very proud" of the way his side bounced back from a 63-10 thrashing by Ireland last time out that led many to question their place in the Six Nations.
The former Ireland fullback, who guided the Azzurri to their first-ever win over South Africa in November, added he was fed up with different standards being applied to Italy.
"We beat South Africa and it is a terrible South Africa side; we do something different, you can't do that," he said.
"We have to change in Italy and I am sick and tired of people having a pop and having a go," said O'Shea, previously in charge of Twickenham-based Harlequins.
"We came here to win," insisted O'Shea after a defeat that meant Italy have lost all 23 of their Tests against England.
"Today we were legal and we played to the law. We are not going to roll over and we are going to fight.
"Just because we took people by surprise, what do they want us to do? Be normal? We can't be normal. We have to be Italy."