Women's Six Nations: Italy 7-42 England
|Women's Six Nations: Italy v England|
|Italy (7) 7|
|Try: Ruzza Con: Sillari|
|England (7) 42|
|Tries: Bern, Hunter 3, Cleall, Dow, Kildunne Cons: Daley-Mclean 2 Pen: Daley-Mclean|
England came to life in the second half to begin the defence of their Women's Six Nations title with a bonus point win away to Italy.
The Red Roses opened the scoring through Sarah Bern but Italy were level at half-time courtesy of Valentina Ruzza's close range effort.
However, England showed their class in the second period with captain Sarah Hunter scoring a hat-trick.
Poppy Cleall, Abigail Dow and Ellie Kildunne claimed the other tries.
That runaway victory had not seemed likely after an opening 40 minutes in which England's finishing had been left wanting following Bern's early try.
Lauren Cattell - making her first England appearance since July 2016 - spilled the ball forwards with the line beckoning, before Cleall was unable to find a team-mate after Rachael Burford's offload.
But last year's beaten World Cup finalists hardly left their opponents' half in the second period.
Katy Daley-Mclean's penalty put Simon Middleton's side back in front before Hunter's first score gave England daylight.
And within six minutes, the visitors scored two further tries, through Cleall and Dow.
Hunter surged over for her second shortly afterwards, with 18-year-old Ellie Kildunne's crossing before the England captain got her third as the clock passed 80 minutes.
England's next match of this year's championship sees them host Wales - who beat Scotland 18-17 on at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday, 10 February (12:15 GMT).
On the same day, Scotland host France (19:05 GMT), before Ireland entertain Italy on Sunday, 11 February (13:00 GMT).
England: Kildunne; Dow, Cattell, Burford, Waterman; Daley-Mclean, Riley; Clark, Davies, Bern, Scott, Taylor, Cleall, Packer, Hunter.
Replacements: Cokayne, Cornborough, Lucas, Burnfield, Noel-Smith, Mattinson, Harrison, Pearce.
Italy: Furlan; Stefan, Sillari, Rigoni, Magatti; Madia, Barattin; Ricci, Bettoni, Gai, Ruzza, Fedrighi, Arrighetti, Giordano, Locatelli.
Replacements: Turani, Durante, Merlo, Duca, Veronese, Corbucci, Busato, Muzzo.
Referee: Tim Baker (Hong Kong)