Jonathan Joseph salutes defence as England run in five tries vs. Italy

Jonathan Joseph touched down for three England tries at the Stadium Olimpico. David Rogers/Getty Images

Hat trick hero Jonathan Joseph modestly brushed aside his feat after England launched a second-half blitz in Rome to beat Italy 40-9.

Centre Joseph was the executioner in what proved to be a five-try rout after the visitors endured a difficult first half at the Stadio Olimpico.

But asked to pick his favourite, he told ITV Sport: "I'm not sure, to be honest. I just got on the end of things. The last one, it was good defence and I managed to get on the end, so I that one sticks out.

"I don't think Anthony [Watson] was too happy, I think he wanted it in the bottom corner."

Joseph's treble included a fine finish after he had intercepted a long pass, but once again he paid tribute to the men who gave him the opportunity.

He said: "We are very proud of our defence, our defensive structure. We like to squeeze teams and we felt that was what we were doing there. We forced an error and luckily, I was the guy that got on the end of it."

England recovered from an ill-disciplined first-half display to tear Italy apart after the break and will now head into their home clash with Ireland in a fortnight's time brimming with confidence.

Joseph said: "We spoke about starting well - unfortunately, we didn't quite get that today - but once we got into it, we showed what England can do and we are very proud of that performance.

"We just had to come out firing in the second half. For us, everything was in place, all the principles, we just made a few errors early on. But we managed to eradicate that and move forward."