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Six Nations: England victorious over Italy but remain 16/1 in outright odds

Steve Borthwick secured his first win as England head coach at the second time of asking, as his side dominated the set-piece to chalk up a 31-14 bonus-point victory over Italy at Twickenham.

After the disappointing defeat to Scotland in the Calcutta Cup last weekend, the Red Rose had the opportunity to make amends with the visit of the Azzurri, who have now lost all 30 matches they have played against England.

There was renewed optimism that Italy could end this barren run following their narrow 29-24 loss to France, but they failed to match the power of their opponents and were dominated at both the scrum and lineout.

Before the contest, England were 16/1 To Win Outright Six Nations 2023, but despite getting off the mark at the second time of asking, they remain 16/1 in that market to lift the trophy for the first time since 2020.

Next up for Borthwick's troops is a trip to Wales on 25th February before they then host France on 11th March and travel to Ireland a week later in a potential championship-winning clash.

Having lost their first two games of the tournament, it's no surprise to see Italy's To Win Outright odds go from 750/1 to 1000/1, while they are 1/2 To Finish Bottom.

Power, power, power

If supporters were hopeful of seeing a more expansive England, they may have to rethink after witnessing a victory that was built on strong, powerful phases of play.

A pragmatic approach is, perhaps, the best way of describing this win. The Red Rose utilised the extra weight in the pack, made advantage of their extra power and dominated at set-pieces.

The hosts were perfect at lineouts, winning all 21, and two of their five tries came from a lineout situation - the opener for Jack Willis and the third score from Jamie George.

Another forward, Ollie Chessum, also scored in between those two tries, powering over following a strong scrum, while the penalty try in the second half came about after another successful lineout was followed by a rolling maul that was illegally brought down on the goal line.

The only try that came from a back was Henry Arundell's score in the corner 11 minutes from time, his second try in his fourth outing for his country adding some gloss to the scoreline.

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Lawrence does his job

While the forwards received a lot of praise for the work they did up front, it was Ollie Lawrence who was named Player of the Match for his performance at inside centre.

Forming a new-look partnership at centre alongside Henry Slade, Lawrence led England's metres gained statistic with 84 and also made nine tackles, ending with a tackle success percentage of 90.

Speaking after the victory, he told ITV: "It is important for us to take a big step. It was my job to make sure we got over the gainline.

"I thought we took a massive stride forward after last week. We're rebuilding as a team. We're nowhere near the finished product but we believe in where we're going as a team.

"I try to carry hard and keep my head down. I relaxed and did what I had to do. Steve's pushed me to get better."

Still hope for Italy

While this was a second straight defeat in the tournament, there were some bright moments for Italy during the contest and the fact they scored two tries will provide some solace.

Marco Riccioni crossed at the start of the second half before Alessandro Fusco finished off a neat break in the 63rd minute, a stage of the match when the visitors had got to within 12 points of the home side.

Full-back Ange Capuozzo once again impressed with his pace and dynamic running causing England problems, and maybe things could have worked out better if the Azzurri had players capable of keeping up with him.

With Wales also losing both of their first two matches, the battle for the Wooden Spoon looks like it will be between those two and their meeting on 11th March in Rome will be a crucial one.

Up next for Italy is the visit of Ireland, who are 4/6 to complete the Grand Slam, on 25th February and the hosts are 12/1 in Game Betting 3-Way, while the tie is on offer at 50/1 and the Irish are 1/50.

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