By ANDREW DAMPF
2014-03-15 11:01 PM
ROME (AP) -- Owen Farrell accounted for 22 points and Mike Brown added two tries as England stated its case for the Six Nations title with a convincing 52-11 win over Italy on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico.
The title will be decided after Ireland's match at France later, with England cheering for the French, who have little chance needing a massive win. Ireland can claim the title if it wins by any margin.
Ireland enters with a +81 point differential, England finished +73 and France is at +3.
Farrell's points came courtesy of one try, one penalty and seven conversions.
Leonardo Sarto scored Italy's only try late in the second half after Luciano Orquera converted two penalties early on.
Having lost all five of its matches in this year's tournament, Italy took the wooden spoon.
On a perfect spring-like day in the Italian capital, there were large sections of white-clad England supporters inside the soldout stadium.
But it was Italy who scored first, with a penalty from Orquera six minutes in after England was penalized for standing up in the scrum.
Four minutes later, Farrell was on target with the sun in his eyes for a penalty and then Brown darted down the left flank for his first try.
Italy went close to the English try line following a poor pass from No. 13 Luther Burrell and then Orquera kicked in another penalty from the right flank cutting England's lead to 10-6.
After that, it was nearly all England.
Farrell took advantage of a sparsely spread Italian line to go in for a try and then Brown scored another try on a long, un-opposed run to make it 24-6 at halftime.
After a brief respite at the start of the second half, Jack Nowell scored his first try for England in the 53rd and Mako Vunipola touched down less then 10 minutes later, as Italy struggled to put together any resistance whatsoever.
Making his England return after a year out, Manusamoa Tuilagi came off the bench and burst through Italy's porous line for a try to and after Farrell's conversion it was 45-6.
Then in a rare lapse for England, Sarto intercepted a pass and ran down the left flank for Italy's only try. But Tommaso Allan, who replaced Orquera shortly after halftime, missed the conversion from the left sideline wide right.
England captain Chris Robshaw had another try in added time and Farrell capped his perfect kicking day by striking in the conversion.