England dismantled Italy 34-5 in the Six Nations Championship at the Stadio Olimpico, with their half-back Ben Youngs celebrating his 100th cap by crossing twice in their five-try romp.
Youngs' brilliant second try came moments after the interval when Eddie Jones' men looked for a response to a ragged and bad-tempered first half.
Suffering from the cancellation of the Barbarians fixture that was to be their warm-up, they looked every bit a team that had been inactive for the last seven months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy fought hard but when Jamie George touched down on his 50th cap, any remote hopes of staging an upset faded and England registered the crucial bonus point when Tom Curry surged over from close range.
Henry Slade added the fifth and final try to set up an anxious wait, knowing the destiny of the title is in Ireland's hands and hoping the challenge of toppling France while scoring four tries was beyond Andy Farrell's side.
England had won all 26 previous meetings with Italy, scoring an average of over 40 points each time, and a year to the day after losing the 2019 World Cup final to South Africa they inflicted a 33rd successive Championship defeat on the Azzurri.
All week they talked about the need to show patience in shaking off the rustiness of having not played since mid-March, but it took only four minutes to breach the home defence.
Mako Vunipola was the engineer, the Saracens prop standing at first receiver and sending Owen Farrell into a gap before Youngs appeared on his shoulder to finish the move.
England's unimpressive 10-5 interval lead was extended 56 seconds into the second half when Hill charged down a box kick and Maro Itoje secured the loose ball.
Spotting a gap at the ruck, Youngs dummied and slid through the hole before beating fullback Matteo Minozzi.
With half an hour to go, daylight opened up as George finished a driving maul but Italy refused to fold as they continued to scrap.
Finally they began to buckle, Curry spotting an unguarded blindside to scamper over before Ben Earl and Slade took advantage of an absent Azzurri defence for the latter to complete the rout.
Australian Associated Press