England began their Six Nations campaign with a below par 36-11 win over Italy in an error-ridden encounter at Twickenham - putting in a performance that did little to suggest an immediate reversal of fortune following the disastrous autumn internationals.
There was plenty of commitment from the Italians in defence but the visitors offered little in attack and their experiment of playing flanker Mauro Bergamasco at scrum-half backfired spectacularly.
Italy’s hopes of pulling off a shock victory were blown away inside the first half as three mistakes from Bergamasco led to England taking a commanding lead as Andy Goode, Harry Ellis and Riki Flutey ran in tries.
Goode, who was only in the side because of injury, added two conversions and a penalty but two Luke McLean penalties meant England led 22-6 at half-time.
Ellis scored England's fourth try after the break and although Italy cut the gap through Mirco Bergamasco, Mark Cueto had the final word for the hosts.
It was Cueto’s first appearance for England since the 2007 World Cup final, and the 29-year old will have given England manager Martin Johnson a selection headache for next Saturday’s match against Wales in Cardiff.
The England boss, celebrating only his second win in seven matches, admitted his side will need to improve when they face the current grand slam winners at the Millennium Stadium.
He said: "The next place we go is Cardiff. It will be volatile and hostile and we need to improve. There are things we need to put right and it is easier doing that when you have come off a game, things are far more relevant."
One major positive to come out of the game was the performance of Harry Ellis, who was a late call-up at scrum-half in place of the injured Danny Care, and he took his chance with two tries in a man-of-the-match display.
Ellis hopes to retain his place for next week’s encounter with the Welsh but the 26-year-old Leicester Tigers man believes he has much to improve on.
"I'm not really happy to be honest," he said. "I've got high standards and I need to try and improve for next week. It's been a while since I started for England and hopefully we'll have a good training run next week and put the wrongs right."
A lack of fluency in attack coupled with poor discipline which resulted in yellow cards for James Haskell and Shane Geraghty will need to be rectified against a Welsh team that will go into the Cardiff showdown full of confidence after their impressive 26-13 win against Scotland.
Not even the possibility of the great Shane Williams missing the match with an ankle injury is likely to make it anything other than a hugely demanding assignment for Johnson's men.