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England 59-13 Italy

England (31) 59
Tries: Ashton 4, Cueto, Tindall, Care, Haskell Cons: Flood 5, Wilkinson 3
Pen: Flood
Italy (6) 13
Try: Ongaro Con: Mi Bergamasco Pens: Mi Bergamasco 2

Chris Ashton and Nick Easter

Highlights - England 59-13 Italy

By Mark Orlovac

Winger Chris Ashton became the first England player to score four tries in a Five/Six Nations match since 1914 as his side thumped Italy at Twickenham.

Ashton claimed his first after three minutes, celebrating with a trademark dive over the line.

England cut loose at the end of the half, Ashton, Mark Cueto and Mike Tindall all crossing before the break.

Danny Care, James Haskell and Ashton (twice) scored in the second half as England recorded an impressive victory.

Following England's opening-day win over Wales in Cardiff, Martin Johnson's men headed into the Twickenham contest full of confidence but with a warning from their manager not to take the Italians lightly.

Chris Ashton

Ashton runs in four England tries

But a few spells of possession apart, there was little sign of the Italy side that ran Ireland so close in their first game in Rome last week.

Ashton was the spearhead of England's display as he became the first man to score four tries in a Six Nations match, taking his total to nine tries from nine Tests.

He has now scored six tries in England's two Six Nations matches so far, already equalling the record of six tries in one Six Nations campaign currently held by England's Will Greenwood and Shane Williams of Wales.

As well as being the first man to score four tries in a Five/Six Nations match since Ronald Poulton against France 97 years ago, Ashton is the first man to score a hat-trick for England since Jamie Noon against Scotland in 2005.

The tone was set in the opening three minutes when England's livewire scrum-half Ben Youngs took advantage of forwards in the Italian defence to release Leicester team-mate Flood.

Bryn Palmer's blog
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer

Flood burst into space and after drawing Italy full-back Luke McLean, the impressive 25-year-old passed to the supporting Ashton on his left shoulder, the Northampton wing having a clear run to the line and scoring the try with a swallow dive that will not be welcomed too warmly by England's management team.

Italy responded immediately, Mirco Bergamasco kicking a penalty after Nick Easter conceded a penalty from the kick-off and although Flood replied with three points of his own, Bergamasco converted a penalty when centre Shontayne Hape fell foul of the referee.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession just before the halfway point of the first half but a lack of incision out wide meant England's defence coped comfortably with the blunt Italian threat.

Bergamasco had the chance to reduce the deficit to one point on 21 minutes when blind-side flanker Tom Wood failed to release a tackled player but the Italy wing pushed his effort right from long range.

Martin Johnson

Johnson happy but still eyes improvement

The rest of the half was all England as the hosts effectively sealed the victory with three tries in 10 minutes.

Ashton got the first of these when his superb support play, which was a feature of his game all day, crashed over after Hape broke through the Italian defence and offloaded.

Cueto was rewarded for an industrious display as he scored England's third try on the 30-minute mark. Cueto's break from deep put England on Italy's five-metre line and the Sale wing was played in by a neat inside ball from Flood for his first try in 19 Tests.

Number eight Easter set up the fourth try when he barged through the Italian defence before passing out of the back of his hand to the supporting Tindall.

Italy's challenge was already a tough one but it was made nigh-on impossible when prop Martin Castrogiovanni was sin-binned for slapping the ball out of an England hand right at the start of the second half.

England made a host of substitutions but the Twickenham faithful did not have to wait long for another score, Ashton supporting a tackled Matt Banahan near the line to bundle over for his hat-trick.

James Haskell
Haskell stretches over the line to score for England late on

Flood and Youngs received a warm ovation as they departed the scene with a job well done on 55 minutes and their half-back replacements were soon on the scoreboard, scrum-half Care bursting through a large gap in the Italian defence to score a try that fly-half Jonny Wilkinson converted.

Italy are nothing if not stubborn and they grabbed a consolation through substitute hooker Fabio Ongaro with 10 minutes to go after a rolling maul fell over the England line.

That was not going to take the gloss of England's performance, though, flanker Haskell charging over from 22 metres out as Italy's defence crumbled while Ashton scored his fourth try with four minutes left on the clock after Banahan launched a counter-attack from inside his own half.

England, who have scored a half century of points for the first time since 2007, now have home games against France and Scotland and are still on course for their first Six Nations title since 2003.

England: Foden, Ashton, Tindall, Hape, Cueto, Flood, Youngs, Corbisiero, Hartley, Cole, Deacon, Palmer, Wood, Haskell, Easter

Replacements: Banahan for Cueto (50), Wilkinson for Flood (55), Care for Youngs (55), Thompson for Hartley (50), Wilson for Cole (62), Shaw for Deacon (46), Fourie for Wood (62)

Italy: McLean, Masi, Canale, Sgarbi, Bergamasco, Orquera, Semenzato, Perugini, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, Del Fava, Geldenhuys, Bernabo, Zanni, Parisse

Replacements: Burton for McLean (79), Garcia for Sgarbi (59), Ongaro for Ghiraldini (66), Dellape for Del Fava (47), Barbieri for Bernabo (60), Lo Cicero for Castrogiovanni (56, then Perugini 63)

Sin Bin: Castrogiovanni (44)

Att: 80,810

Ref: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

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see also
England need to improve - Johnson
13 Feb 11 |  English
Six Nations as it happened
12 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
England v Italy photos
12 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
England v Italy stats
12 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
England hit by late Sheridan blow
11 Feb 11 |  English
Italy forced to make late change
11 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Ashton rebuked after England win
09 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
England can be better - Johnson
04 Feb 11 |  English
Wales 19-26 England
04 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Italy 11-13 Ireland
05 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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