England will discover the extent of Ben Youngs' injury on Monday

When asked about his selection of the outside centre, Jones said: "Ben will add a different dimension at 13 for us".

In the absence of injured duo Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes, Sam Simmonds wins a fourth cap at number eight, with Chris Robshaw and Courtney Lawes either side of him in the back row.

England have earned 23 wins from their last 24 games, all but one of them since Eddie Jones became head coach.

England secured the bonus point with their seven-try haul on a sun-lit Roman day, but their weekend was marred by a potentially serious knee injury suffered by scrum-half Ben Youngs.

They couldn't cope with England's attack in the first-half when George Ford, Owen Farrell and Jonny May combined to send Watson into the corner to dot down after just three minutes.

Simmonds' Exeter club-mate Jack Nowell, who scored England's seventh try, said: "He is a bit of a freak, Simmo, isn't he?"

"Italy play off mistakes, they hustle and bustles, create opportunities so we want to set the tone early".

"I was really pleased with the effort today ... we were completely dominant in the scrum, our lineout was good and then at the end we were able to score tries with some lovely ball movement".

Tommaso Benvenuti ran on to a long pass by Tommaso Allan to interrupt the flow of England's tries with a superb score, but soon after a gap appeared in midfield and Farrell shaped to pass before accelerating over.

England moved to the top of the table, ahead of Wales on goal difference.

England ought to start the defence of their title with a comfortable victory in the Eternal City. Before, sometimes, when you got invited to England, you'd be like "Oh no, this is going to be hell".

Holders England have won all 23 of their matches against Italy, with 18 of those matches coming in this tournament England have only ever lost three of 18 opening fixtures in the Six Nations since 2000; losing to France in 2014 and Wales in both 2008 and 2005.

England were flummoxed by Italy's no-ruck tactics at Twickenham previous year, but it was the Azzurri who were left scratching their heads after the holders made a blistering start in Rome on Sunday. England's third try came when, after sustained pressure inside the 22, Farrell gathered a pass to run through a gaping hole and turn over. I am stubborn. I am here for Italian rugby, to make it better, and hopefully we are seeing the beginnings of that. "Now it's very hard because we lost".

Simmonds's opposite number on Saturday will be Italy captain Sergio Parisse but Borthwick was confident the Exeter man would hold his own against one of the outstanding No8s in world rugby.

  • Stacy Allen