PLAYER RATINGS: Watson back in business, Vunipola almost out of time

PLAYER RATINGS: Anthony Watson back in business with two tries as England fly past Italy… but below-par Billy Vunipola is running out of chances to re-find his best

  • England got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 41-18 victory over Italy 
  • Anthony Watson was hugely impressive, scoring two tries to lead England home 
  • However, both skipper Owen Farrell Billy Vunipola were disappointing again 

England seized a bounce-back victory over Italy on Saturday, recovering from a rocky start and taking an important step to getting their Six Nations back on track. 

A duo of Anthony Watson tries and a spectacular Johnny May effort were the highlights as England powered clear, after Red Roses fans were left sweating again by Monty Ioane putting Italy ahead early. 

Eddie Jones’ men still have work to do though, with Billy Vunipola and captain Owen Farrell’s performances a concern for the Australian coach. 

Sportsmail’s ADAM HATHAWAY runs the rule over the performances on Saturday…

England bagged a crucial victory over Italy to get their Six Nations back on track on Saturday 

Not been on his A game recently and a poor first half pass to Jonny May and a lapse for one Italy score summed form up. Late try.

14. Anthony Watson 9

Back in business with two tries. One a run-in after good step and an interception effort. Looked busy, set the tone and ended up in back row.

Anthony Watson was back to his very best form, scoring two tries in a bustling performance 

13. Henry Slade 8

A thoroughbred player for England and a real good shout for the Lions tour if it happens. First half grubber and some passes were class.

12. Owen Farrell (capt) 5

The skipper has not been at his best for a while. Wasn’t at his best here either, and looked rattled before England were in control.

11. Jonny May 8

Spectacular finish for his 32nd international try which put him second on all-time England list behind Rory Underwood, and looked sharp.

Jonny May had to leap to the try-line to bag the 32nd international try of his superb career 

10. George Ford 7

Got more ball at fly-half than Farrell last week and gave his midfield more ball. England look better in attack with him at 10.

9. Ben Youngs 6

Off after 50 minutes and did what Ben Youngs does but surely it would have been better to see Dan Robson on from the start.

1.Mako Vunipola 6

Elder statesman of England pack did his job at scrum time without setting world alight elsewhere on the pitch.

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie 7

Claimed the starting berth off Jamie George, was prominent around park and did line out duties well. Good afternoon.

3. Kyle Sinckler 7

Missed last week’s disaster against Scotland and proved he is still number one tight-head here. Solid in scrum and lasted 73 minutes.

A solid display from Kyle Sinckler saw him return to the side after escaping the Scotland mess

4. Maro Itoje 6

Not on the same level as last weekend against Scotland and needs to stamp out the penalties to really attain greatness. Busy enough.

5. Jonny Hill 6

Got his first international try and got involved in the heavy traffic. England’s line out functioned much better this time.

6. Courtney Lawes 8

Probably England’s best forward as he put himself about, hit the Italians hard and his offload helped set up first Watson try.

7. Tom Curry 7

Back on form and was industrious after being outplayed by Scotland back row last weekend. Big say in Daly’s try.

8. Billy Vunipola 5

Still not anywhere near his best and you wonder how many more chances the No.8 will get to return to form.

Billy Vunipola must quickly turn around his slump in form or risk losing Eddie Jones’ faith 

Replacements used: Jamie George (for Cowan-Dickie 52) 6, Ellis Genge (for M.Vunipola 52) 6, Will Stuart (for Sinckler 73) 5, Charlie Ewels (for Hill 51) 5, Ben Earl (for B.Vunipola 59) 6, Jack Willis (for Lawes 59) 5, Dan Robson (for Youngs 52) 7, Max Malins (for Willis 64) 5


Jacopo Trulla 5; Luca Sperandio 5, Juan Ignacio Brex 6, Carlo Canna 6, Monty Ioane 8; Paolo Garbisi 7, Stephen Varney 6; Andrea Lovotti 5, Luca Bigi (capt) 6, Marco Riccioni 6, Marco Lazzaroni 5, David Sisi 6, Sebastian Negri 6, Johan Meyer 5,Michele Lamaro 6

Replacements used: Gianmarco Lucchesi 5, Danilo Fischetti 5, Giosuè Zilocchi 6, Niccolò Cannone 5, Federico Ruzza 5, Guglielmo Palazzani 5, Tommaso Allan 5, Federico Mori 5

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