ROME, Italy -- England's Grand Slam hopes remain intact, as expected, following a relatively routine victory over Italy, but a couple of ominous clouds gathered in the sky above the Stadio Olimpico at full time.
Those hoping for the kind of fireworks that sparked Saturday's Six Nations clashes in Cardiff and Paris would have been disappointed. Rome is not a city that needs gimmicks, England are not a team that cares for them either.
Eddie Jones and his squad will embark on the journey home with a try-scoring bonus point in the bag to keep pace with Wales, who they lead at the top of the Six Nations table on points difference. However, there is work to do before Warren Gatland's side visit Twickenham on Saturday.
The most pressing concern for the England coach will be the fitness of Ben Youngs. The scrum-half was forced to depart the match on a stretcher after just over 10 minutes after getting his leg pinned at a ruck and suffering what could be a serious knee injury.
The Leicester man, who was stretchered off with his left leg heavily strapped, will doubtless be sent for scans and to see a specialist before a timeframe for his recovery can be outlined but a prolonged absence would be a considerable blow.
Danny Care is a more than able deputy at scrum-half, but Jones must now find another 'finisher' having previously been happy to operate his first-choice squad with only two options in that position.
Scrum-half is the one area of the squad Jones has been unable to develop in his time in the job. Jack Maunder toured Argentina with England in June, but has made just one Aviva Premiership appearance this season while Wasps scrum-half Dan Robson - arguably the league's form No. 9 - has so far been overlooked by his country.
An SOS will need to be sent to someone now, though. Whoever receives the call to head to Pennyhill Park this week, however, will immediately find themselves in the squad for Saturday's clash with Wales.
They will, therefore, need to adapt to their new surroundings quickly, especially given what a pivotal role England's scrum-half plays in the way the team attacks. The evergreen Richard Wigglesworth could again come into Jones' thinking, therefore, given the relationship he has at club level with Owen Farrell at Saracens.
Aside from who supplements Care at training next weekend, England's defending in wide channels may well come under the microscope when they return to Surrey. Both of Italy's tries were scored via cut-out passes that took English wingers out of the contest.
Farrell also endured an uncharacteristically wobbly afternoon from the tee. Wales will have been watching.
Their coaching staff would have seen reasons to be fearful too, however. Anthony Watson took his two first-half tries extremely well, while he was given a run at fullback late on, and seven-try victories are not to be taken for granted in international rugby.
Sam Simmonds showed the threat that his pace can give the England back row as he scampered over for a brace of tries of his own. Steve Borthwick had warned Italy that the Exeter No. 8 possessed the pace of a back but they appeared not to have heeded those words as he scampered clear from a ruck seven minutes into the second half.
His inclusion meant the distribution of carrying responsibilities around the England pack, and in the absence of his brother, Billy, Mako Vunipola highlighted his own ability in that department. His deft handling played a crucial role in Watson's second score after only 10 minutes.
Subtlety in possession is also what the George Ford-Farrell axis brings to the England melting pot and their understanding helped carve out opportunity after opportunity in Rome. Ford himself gleefully finished after one such move opened a gap in the Italian defence.
For Italy, this was another 'nearly' performance against England. There are signs that the squad's depth is improving under Conor O'Shea. The side's seven championship debutants acquitted themselves well but they were kept at arm's length for the majority of the match.
The hosts can point to a couple of try-scoring opportunities of their own that they left on the park - including having two, rightly, chalked off in the process - but they would have mattered little to the result. They will regroup ahead of a tricky trip to Ireland as they plot their quest to avoid another wooden spoon.
For both England and Italy, the hard work really starts here.