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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008, 17:52 GMT

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson landed five kicks for England
Jonny Wilkinson described England's display against Italy as "fantastic", despite them labouring to a 23-19 Six Nations victory in Rome.

Wilkinson became the first player to score 1,000 points for England, but his side faded badly in a poor second half.

The Newcastle fly-half told BBC Sport: "It wasn't easy - Ireland found that last week and other teams will too.

"Italy are a great side. But the guys all chipped in, they were brilliant to a man. We were fantastic."

Wilkinson landed three penalties and two conversions and set up England's opening try with a cute break and offload to winger Paul Sackey.

His overall points tally for England and the British and Irish Lions now stands at 1,056, just 34 behind Welshman and current world record holder Neil Jenkins.

BBC Sport's Phil Harlow

"It is amazing to think I have got to that figure, because I have to remind myself I have been around long enough to do so," added Wilkinson.

"I have had a lot of injuries, and it has been the support I've received from other players and guys like Steve Black and John Fletcher at Newcastle.

"These are the people who got me through the tough times, so I owe them my thanks."

But after a solid first-half display, the visitors allowed Italy back into the match and were grimly clinging onto a slender lead in the final minutes of the game.

England coach Brian Ashton admitted his half-time team talk to consolidate their lead did not have its desired effect.

"We talked about rebuilding our game from the foundations, but we didn't quite manage it - we didn't achieve field position," he said.

"But I don't think we panicked in the last few minutes of the game, so we've learnt our lesson from last week."

I was very, very proud of the way they played in the second half

Italy coach Nick Mallett

And Ashton praised the contribution of record-breaking fly-half Wilkinson.

"That's an incredible record, that little chip over the top for the first try shows what a classy player he can be," he added.

Bath lock Borthwick, who took over leadership duties from stomach bug victim Phil Vickery, said: "It is a very good result, one we would have taken at the start of the day.

"We are a side that is growing. The guys will learn from the experience of games like this, and it will make us stronger."

Italy coach Nick Mallett applauded his side's resilience after they fought back from a 20-6 half-time deficit to almost nick the game.

Mallett told BBC Sport: "I was frustrated about the way we played in the first half. It's a pity they didn't play with the liberty and the freedom they played in the second because at least we can enjoy ourselves when we play like that.

"To be 20-6 down at half-time is a bit difficult, but some Italian sides might have lost by 45 points and I was very, very proud of the way they played in the second half.

"They held on to the ball through quite a few phases and put England under a bit of pressure. I thought we played some good rugby in the second half."

  • Watch the match in full on BBC iPlayer for seven days from Sunday (UK users only)

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