Tries from Giovanbattista Venditti and Tommaso Benvenuti’s had put Italy into a deserved half-time lead – but Owen Farrell’s immaculate kicking and a second try in as many weeks for Charlie Hodgson saw England home.
“Relieved would be one word but also proud as well,” Lancaster told the BBC. “I thought it was a fantastic way to come back into the game.
“We talked at half-time about playing a bit off first receiver rather than just off nine, and having the courage to play. We played with a bit more width, which was difficult in the conditions, but it was the right way to go.”
Ben Morgan and Lee Dickson came on as replacements in the second half and both had a positive impact on the game, bringing renewed energy to England’s play.
“There wasn’t a panic at half-time but clearly we needed to change what we were doing,” Lancaster said. “I thought the substitutes made a tremendous impact.
“Lee Dixon and Ben Morgan in particular came on after 50 minutes and they really upped the tempo. That gave us the breathing space later on in the game which we really needed.
“Every substitute you make is in the context of the game and you go into it with an idea of what you are going to do.
“We thought it was the right thing to do. We’ve seen Lee in training and we know what he brings in terms of tempo which we needed in order to break the Italians down because they had a tremendous first half.”
And Lancaster hailed Farrell’s performance after the 20-year-old kicked four penalties and one conversion to get the visitors across the finishing line.
“I think it was huge [Farrell’s penalties] to keep the scoreboard ticking over in that way, and when he puts the ball down, you have confidence he will get the points,” added Lancaster.
“His temperament is unbelievable for a young man.”
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