Welcome back to Twickenham, site of last week’s defeat for the home side, for today’s match vs Italy. Both teams come into the match with the same tournament record – played one, lost one – but after the supine nature of the performance vs Scotland, England surely will put down a marker so hard today that you’ll need a jackhammer to separate it from the ground.
Franco Smith’s callow Azzuri will want to make things difficult for their opponents, but they no doubt felt the same way last week prior to France inflicting an insurance job, and the week before when most of the backs were presumably sitting their eleven-plus.
A comprehensive scoreline is the minimum requirement for Eddie Jones’s charges today; more than that a performance of some verve and snazz will go a long way to silencing the gathering grumblings among onlookers. Italy will use this as yet more experience for this developing team with eyes on the World Cup in a couple of years. Don’t be surprised if in a year or so they start doing a lot better, but for this match at least do be surprised if they manage to avoid a pasting.
England are the only Six Nations team to never lose to Italy and they won’t plan on starting today.