England to run Azzuri

Brian Ashton confirms England won’t revert to conservative tactics after their shock loss to Wales last week.

Italy showed plenty of spirit against Ireland on Saturday but are still unlikely to challenge for the Six Nations title. However, their status does not mean England can play the percentages in order to get back to their winning ways.

“It would be very easy to go into a tight mentality, saying we can’t afford to lose or not do this or that,” Ashton said. “This team is going out on Sunday to play some rugby, we don’t want to end up playing the game we played against Italy last year in a 15-metre channel.”

Ashton stressed the need to progress. England possess a powerful pack but the head coach is determined to utilise the potent outside backs to better effect.

“We’ve also emphasised the long-term view is that we need to move our game forwards. We can’t go backwards mentally to play a certain way just to eke out a win.

“Having said that, if we get in that situation [having a good lead] I think we’ve got a pretty shrewd idea of what we will do.”