Six Nations 2013: Chris Robshaw hails England's battling win over Italy

 

England captain Chris Robshaw hailed a battling win over Italy to keep their RBS 6 Nations title bid alive, but admitted improvements were needed before their Grand Slam showdown with Wales next week.

England were fancied to steamroller the Italians at Twickenham but instead laboured to an 18-11 victory, while conceding the only try of the game to Luke McLean.

The Italians were camped in England's half in the closing minutes but a couple of late stolen balls kept the Red Rose in credit.

Assessing both the match and the chance of a first Grand Slam since 2003, Robshaw told BBC 1: "Of course it was (disappointing), but it was important to get a win.

"We were under no illusion how hard it would be, especially after how hard it was in Rome last year.

"We weren't great today but it's a win at the end of the day.

"There were moments when we played very well and the attack was flowing but the final bit of execution let us down.

"There's a lot of work to do going into Wales next week."

England's head coach Stuart Lancaster was honest about the need for a better showing from his side in Cardiff come Saturday.

Asked if he felt it was the most disappointing display of the tournament to date, the Cumbrian said: "Yes, I think so. In the second half there was no doubt about that.

"At half-time we weren't quite accurate enough but we still felt in control of the game, but I felt we let that control slip and Italy pushed us right to the end.

"We have to improve on that performance and it will be a massive step for us.

"We got the win today but it's a quiet changing room and we'll take the lessons out of this.

"It's set up for a fantastic occasion (against Wales)."

Wales can not only spoil England's Grand Slam party, but also take the Six Nations title at the weekend.

But, having played them both, Italy full-back Andrea Masi has tipped Lancaster's men to edge it.

"It's going to be a tough game but I think England are a bit more dangerous than Wales," he offered.

"We were quite happy to compete against England. This was a very good performance by Italy. We came from two poor games and today we played better rugby - more aggressive, much more physical."

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