Kobe: England’s squad players got the job done with a solid 45-7 bonus-point victory over the United States at the Rugby World Cup on Thursday against a determined Eagles side.
With a four-day turnaround after their opening Pool C victory over Tonga, coach Eddie Jones rang the changes with 10 new picks but was rewarded with seven tries in humid conditions at a packed Kobe Misaki Stadium.
Skipper George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie scored before the break, with winger Joe Cokanasiga grabbing a brace and Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlam also crossing in the second half.
United States flanker John Quill was sent off in the 70th minute for a shoulder-charge to the head of Owen Farrell but the Americans never gave up and replacement Bryce Campbell finally got them on the scoreboard after the final gong.
“It’s a good win again,” said player-of-the-match Ford. “We had to work for it again, the USA were a really physical, passionate team so we had to earn that win and I thought we did that very well.”
England coach Eddie Jones was optimistic. “We wanted to go out hard against them and we scored early, but we probably got a bit seduced by the space and tried to move the ball too much,” he said. “The conditions were such, it was alike a wet weather game, but we found our rhythm and tempo really well in the second half. We made some handling mistakes but we will improve. The ball is like a cake of soap because we know we have got good players who can catch and pass, so it must be something else.
“They had 14 players in the line and it was hard to get a numerical advantage. As soon as we started to play through them we were much better.”
US coach Gary Gold, however, was disappointed. “You can’t be missing nearly 40 tackles in a game and still hope to be in the game,” he said. “It was a pretty awful performance by us tonight.”
After waiting until the 24th minute to score on Sunday, England were quicker off the mark in Kobe, scrum-half Willi Heinz finding Ford running a beautiful line and the No. 10 went through to score under the posts after five minutes before Vunipola smashed over from the back of a driving maul.
England’s third try arrived in similar circumstances, the United States powerless to stop a rampaging maul before Cowan-Dickie touched down.
The red shirts of England were quickly into their stride after the break and claimed the bonus point try in the 48th minute when a rampaging Jonathan Joseph was stopped just short but Cokanasiga was on hand to score.
Sevens specialist McConnochie showed his sense of timing just before the hour mark, taking a pass at full pelt and bundling over for his first international try in the 15-aside game.
England’s seventh score came with four minutes left when replacement prop Ellis Genge barrelled his way through a host tired US tacklers before Cokanasiga finished off.
Italy 48 Canada 7
England 45 United States 7