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Jones excited by 'great discovery' Simmonds

07 Febrero 2018

Forget your foxes and your outside-of-the-boxers: England just had better beasts than Italy in their first Six Nations bout.

The Six Nations has barely started but, suddenly, all roads lead to Twickenham. When it came to finding that extra yard of pace, England had Anthony Watson and Sam Simmonds, who both nabbed a brace of tries.

Tommaso Benvenuti ran on to a long pass by Tommaso Allan to interrupt the flow of England's tries with a superb score, but soon after a gap appeared in midfield and Farrell shaped to pass before accelerating over.

However, this year's Six Nations opener at the Stadio Olimpico was far from it as the reigning champions' defensive frailties were exposed by a country determined to maintain their position in the tournament. Italy are one of those countries.

"It's a very positive start", said Jones.

Jones seized the coaching reins and England have flourished since, winning 22 of 23 Tests in a sequence that has placed them on course to secure an unprecedented third successive championship crown. However, England are nothing if not blessed with resources. So when Italy were on the hustle in the second half, Jones simply nodded to the bench and had George Kruis, Jonathan Joseph and Jack Nowell injected into proceedings.

Ben Youngs overtook Matt Dawson's record of most starts for an England halfback, but his game was ended early by a knee injury. The intensity is a lot higher.

"He's different to Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes and sometimes it takes sides a bit of time to adjust to that, but our adjustment was good".

England extended its advantage moments after play resumed as the ball was once again played through hands with lightning speed and Watson raced down the right flank to again turn over in the corner, just as the cart carrying Youngs was passing. Already this Six Nations, nines going down with knee complaints is a talking points. "Whatever it may be, he knows how to read people extremely well".

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The stats from that 13-9 defeat are damning, particularly in the first half. Boni, perhaps keen to prove his physical worth after being pushed aside like an empty plate by Watson, supplied and supported a Bellini run. "Defensively we made a couple of errors but that's something we can work on and fix", said the coach. A looped pass over his head to Tommaso Benvenuti sent the Italy winger towards the line to score.

"Simmonds was brilliant. He's quick and powerful and we're pleased to have him in our squad".

Early in the second period, Watson squandered a hat-trick chance when he lost possession grounding the ball, although Farrell nudged England further ahead with a penalty. The Irish? 41 times, led by the brilliant Peter O'Mahony and Iain Henderson. And the English bullied the attempted drive into touch.

There was still time for the sort of fast finish which has become England's trademark. "We'll train tomorrow, have Tuesday as a recovery day and we feel like we'll be ready by Friday to face Wales", he said. Stop them crossing, whatever it takes. Their coach, Joe Schmidt, is a New Zealander - less fun than Jones in a press conference, and believes in straightforward, effective rugby.

England scored seven tries on the way to an emphatic 46-15 win away to Italy as they began the defence of their Six Nations title in style on Sunday. It was the try bonus wrapped up.

England players celebrate their victory. After the opening quarter, they upped the physicality and reduced the ease at which England was getting over the gain line. "When the game opened up he was in his element".

Farrell again missed, this time sending his kick wide of the left.

If the resistance was never broken it was at least badly bruised, with England claiming another three tries.

Jones excited by 'great discovery' Simmonds