Sloppy England pass Italian test as late show keeps winning streak alive
England remain on course for back-to-back Six Nations grand slams but the celebrations will be muted after they produced their worst performance under Eddie Jones and needed a late surge to secure a 36-15 victory over Italy on Sunday.
England were all over the place in an error-strewn first half and though Dan Cole bundled over the line in a rare attack to put them 5-0 up they were lucky to reach the break 10-5 down after Giovanbattista Venditti scored a try for Italy after an earlier Tommaso Allan drop goal.
England's Ben Youngs attempts to pass the ball to England's Mike BrownReuters
England came out firing with quickfire tries for Danny Care and Elliot Daly but Michele Campagnaro blasted through some lightweight defending to get Italy back within two points.
It proved a false dawn, however, as Jack Nowell crossed for the fourth, bonus-point try, followed soon afterwards with a fifth for Ben Te’o, with Nowell finishing things off with his second in the last minute.
England top the standings on 13 points after three wins. Ireland, who beat France on Saturday, are second on 10 points with Scotland third on nine following their home win over Wales, who are fourth on five points.
England's winning streak is now at 17, one off the world record held by New Zealand.