Martin Johnson’s England made a winning start to their RBS Six Nations campaign, but were still far from convincing in their 36-11 victory over Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.
Alex Lowe writes for PA Sport that the result was never in doubt after Italy gifted England three first-half tries with the selction of back-rower Mauro Bergamasco at scrum-half coming back to haunt Azzurri coach Nick Mallett.
The returning Andy Goode, Harry Ellis and Riki Flutely all took advantage to touch down and further tries followed in the second period for Ellis and Mark Cueto.
However, England were unimpressive for the most part with a lack of cohesion, poor decision-making and aimless kicking blighting their performance and Italy, who improved markedly after the break, gained a deserved try of their own through Mirco Bergamsco.
Afterwards Ellis admitted an improvement is needed if England are to beat Wales in their next outing.
He told BBC1: “Hopefully we can have a good week and look forward to Wales.
“We need to improve in every single area but it’s always the same – the first game is a bit stuttery.”
England manager Martin Johnson agreed his side will have to improve but was relieved to get off to a winning start.
He said: “We won in the end. There is lots to improve on as a team but it is nice to be in a winning changing room.
“At this level if you give teams opportunities they will take them. The next place we go is Cardiff. It will be volatile and hostile and we need to improve.
“We were sometimes going off-plan and doing things we especially said not to do against this team. We didn’t want guys picking and going around the edges against Italy because it is an area they defend best.Tweet