England start 6 Nations defence by crushing Italy 46-15

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One concern will be a potential tournament-ending injury to scrum-half Ben Youngs, who was forced from the field after 20 minutes as his knee swivelled against him when passing from the base of a ruck. "It looks like a ligament injury".

However, Italy captain Sergio Parisse says they will "fight in every single match" and are building to "something special" - and it will certainly take something special to beat England, with some bookies giving the home side lowly 12/1 odds.

If England can maintain the feelgood factor engendered from last year's autumn internationals, could they land a third successive Six Nations title?

But if any team can deal with a raft of injuries, it ought to be a well-resourced England.

Eddie Jones' team will need to be more authoritative in all that they do; although their scrum was impressive, their defence less so at times.

However, three second-half tries from Ben White, Tom Parton and Ben Loader as well as two conversions from Grayson on his first start stretched the lead and although Italy were awarded a late penalty try England sealed the win. "At the end of the game we played some lovely rugby".

Normal service was resumed six minutes later, though, Farrell bursting through a gap to go under the posts and successfully converting for the first time as Italy's fragile defence was breached a little too easily once again, but an Allan penalty reduced the deficit to 17-10 at halt-time.

Te'o will accomplice Owen Farrell in the midfield, with Ben Youngs and George Ford at half-back and Jonny May, Anthony Watson and Mike Brown in the back three.

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Ireland's provincial sides have impressed in Europe's Champions Cup club competition and Jones said: "I think the expectation on Ireland is high, and it's how they handle it now, isn't it?"

How to watch England vs Italy in the Six Nations 2018.

Early in the second period, Watson squandered a hat trick chance when he lost possession in the act of grounding the ball, although Farrell did nudge England further ahead with a penalty.

"We always knew it was going to be a tough game, they played exceptionally well and full credit to Italy".

The Harlequins playmaker said: "We want to win all five games".

"We've got a fantastic squad that have all prepared really well", said Jones. "He's a great discovery for us, he gives us great options at number eight".

Italy broke England's defensive line for Tommaso Boni to cross, however, it was ruled out for an earlier forward pass and minutes later Jones' side had a bonus point.