Jonny May scored a brace of tries as England clinched a comprehensive 40-16 win over the Wallabies in Saturday’s quarter-final in Oita. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
England have repeated their heroics of 2007: they will feature in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup. And you have to compliment coach Eddie Jones for the progress this team has made since they were so humiliatingly bundled out of the 2015 World Cup in their own backyard.
As has been the case throughout this World Cup, Australia played well in patches and even dominated for large parts of the first half. But their low conversion rate and high error rate once again proved to be their downfall. And, as a result, the Wallabies will leave the tournament with nothing.
The start to Saturday’s quarter-final undoubtedly featured some of the best rugby the Wallabies have played, while it was the slowest start England have made in recent months. And yet, Australia must have been wondering just how they found themselves 17-6 down some 30 minutes into the clash. And, although they fought back bravely and reduced the deficit to a single point early in the second half, England were never behind on the scoreboard after May’s first score.
Australia bossed the territorial and possession stakes, competed well at the breakdown and showed a lot of fight at the collisions. They had England under pressure from the outset, but had only a 12th-minute penalty to show for their effort. By contrast, England steadily worked their way into the contest, but struck twice in the space of three minutes to put 14 points on the Wallabies.
With Australia’s defence stretched to the limit, May dotted down in the left corner. Not long after, the wing was at it again. A poor offload by David Pocock was intercepted by Henry Slade, and the England No 13 showed great awareness when he nudged the ball ahead for May to chase and dot down in the same corner again. Captain Owen Farrell was on hand to add the conversion and knock over a penalty to enhance his team’s advantage.
Nevertheless, Australia remained intent on running the ball from everywhere and it paid dividends as they chalked up 10 points – accumulated either side of the break – to get right back in the fight.
But that same adventurous streak and stubborn habit to kick the ball away, are what ultimately fell the Wallabies. Their tendency to overplay the ball inside the 22 again brought greater risk than reward as England forced them into handling errors to get turnover possession in the red zone.
And no sooner had Marika Koroite scored that try for the Wallabies, England responded through Kyle Sinckler who went straight through a gaping hole in Australia’s defensive line. It went downhill from there as England added 16 unanswered points, via another converted try and three more Farrell penalties, to put an exclamation mark on their statement performance.
England – Tries: Jonny May (2), Kyle Sinckler, Anthony Watson. Conversions: Owen Farrell (4). Penalties: Farrell (4).
Australia – Try: Marika Koroibete. Conversion: Christian Leali’ifano. Penalties: Leali’ifano (3).
England – 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Louis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Jamie Joseph.
Australia – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 David Pocock, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 James O’Connor.
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