By Padraic Ryan and Tadhg Peavoy
England easily saw off the challenge of Italy to win their final RBS 6 Nations game 52-11, but could not manage to close the points difference between themselves and Ireland.
Italy never looked in contention throughout the game, and the class of Mike Brown and the clinical kicking of Owen Farrell were evident throughout.
Brown bagged a brace of tries in the first half, and Farrell scored one of his own to add to some fine kicking.
Luciano Orquera kicked two penalties for Italy, and the sides went in at half-time with England 24-6 ahead.
When Marco Bortolami was yellow-carded early in the second half, England piled on the pressure and looked likely to push on and get the points they required.
Jack Nowell scored his first England try almost immediately thereafter, and, with Italy wilting, Mako Vunipola turned up to touch down under the post for the visitors’ fifth.
When the returning Manu Tuilagi ran through a ragged Italian line in the 67th minute for England's sixth try, and Farrell converted, it brought the points difference between England and Ireland to just ten.
However, Leonardo Sarto ensured the Italians fought back just a minute later, intercepting a Joe Launchbury pass to run in a try.
Although Tommaso Allan missed the resulting conversion, it meant the Ireland-England points difference was back out to 15.
England pressed thereafter, but Italy were defiant, and although England captain Chris Robshaw crossed for a late try, which Farrell converted, ultimately the clock caught up on England.
The result meant that Ireland needed only to beat France by a point to win the Six Nations Championship.