Byline: SAM PETERS at Twickenham
ENGLAND received a major reality check - even if Jonny Wilkinson did rewrite the record books for the second week running.
Following the euphoria of last week's Wilko-inspired Calcutta Cup win, this was very much a case of 'after the Lord Mayor's show'.
And if If Italy had possessed a decent goal-kicker, the final scoreline would have been even closer.
Wilkinson slotted five penalties to become the highest points scorer in Six Nations history. But England lacked creativity behind the scrum and urgency up front.
The Newcastle Falcons fly-half's first penalty took him past Neil Jenkins's previous record, while Jason Robinson crossed for England's only try just before half-time. But this was a damp squib after last week's fireworks against the Scots.
The biggest bonus for coach Brian Ashton was that Wilkinson came through another game unscathed, while Andy Farrell turned in another composed display.
In his second game for England, the 31-year-old former Great Britain rugby league captain looked every inch a seasoned union international. Indeed, Farrell was central to the few bits of creative play England produced.
But Farrell's competence only highlighted the work Ashton and his coaching staff have to do to create a back-line of real potency.
Harlequins' Nick Easter enjoyed an impressive debut on the blindside, but he was unable to drag the rest of England's pack with him.
Italy were always going to perform better than last week's dismal showing against France, but they were nothing more than workmanlike.
Pierre Berbizier, described by Ashton before the match as ''the best coach in Europe'', had obviously done his homework on the world champions.
They slowed England's ball down at the breakdown and harried the midfield into a number of handling errors.
Blindside flanker Josh Sole was magnificent for the visitors, while centre Mirco Bergamasco was never less than tenacious in the tackle.
The two combined for Italy's richlydeserved second-half score, fly-half Andrea Scanavacca, who missed two of his three kicks at goal, getting the try.
England spent much of the secondhalf camped in their own half after rather fortuitously going in 14-0 up at half-time, but Italy lacked the cutting edge and belief to make them pay. …