England CRUSH Australia: Eddie Jones' men score FORTY points over old rivals as they book a spot in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 12 years... now it's New Zealand up next
- Jonny May scored the opening try for England against Australia during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final
- May added his second try of the match to increase Eddie Jones' side's early advantage over the Wallabies
- Owen Farrell was as reliable as ever with his kicking as he converted both of England's first-half tries
- Christian Lealiifano scored three penalties in the first half of the match to keep Australia in the game
- Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson scored tries for England as they dominated after the interval
- England will take on reigning champions New Zealand in the semi-final next Saturday
Once Eddie Jones had thrown out soundbites about samurai and rhinos in Room 406 in the basement of the Oita Stadium, an Australian journalist asked him for his thoughts about the Wallabies.
Michael Cheika had been fighting back the tears in the same seat moments earlier, so the antipodean voice asked if there was any sympathy for his home country.
‘Not a lot, no,’ answered Jones, in a nutshell. ‘Ask me later in the week.’
Jonny May adds his second try of the match to increase Eddie Jones' side's advantage in their quarter-final clash on Saturday
May celebrates with his team-mates including George Ford (right) who was left out of the starting line-up on Saturday
Farrell was as reliable as ever with his kicking as he converts England's second try of the match during the first half
England fans celebrate in Japan as they reach World Cup semi-final for the first time in 12 years after crushing Australia
England were in a ruthless mood — and the press conference was no different. Jones had ordered his team to play like the samurai who once roamed the hills overlooking the stadium. They responded by drawing their sharpest sword to deliver one of England’s most comprehensive World Cup performances since 2003. A statement scoreline to make the world take note.
Jones had been ruthless in his selection and it paid off. Owen Farrell, shifted back to No 10, scored 20 points. Henry Slade, shunted in at No 12, produced a moment of black magic for the key try. That was just the backs.
Everything was on the line. This was the game England — and Jones — could not afford to lose.
Farrell scored three penalties in the second half to put extra daylight between the two sides and put pressure on Australia
The RFU have invested millions into the win-at-all-costs campaign and a defeat here would have been a catastrophic failure. The walls at Twickenham would have been covered in blood.
Now England fans can dare to dream. They do not need to change their flights and return to the rainy runways of Heathrow.
They are happy. Losing to the All Blacks in the semi-final would be nothing other than expected, so Jones is clear of any inquests into where it all went wrong.
Kyle Sinckler of England holds off Kurtley Beale of Australia as he touches down to score his team's third try on Saturday
There were concerns this England side would be undercooked after their final pool game was washed out by Typhoon Hagibis. Their tournament had been a slow burner but it burst into life after an early 15-minute siege by the Wallabies.
For the opening 10 minutes, England appeared racked by nerves, while Australia were all-out-attack. England had to see off an 18-phase battering on their line, with 19-year-old rookie Jordan Petaia at the heart of it.
England made 30 tackles in the opening minutes and there were early challenges as mouthy Wallabies tried to wind up Kyle Sinckler with sharp elbows and ruffles of his sweaty forehead.
Farrell's kicking was spot on as he made it four from four to convert Sinckler's try and increase England's advantage
England: Daly, Watson, Slade, Tuilagi, May, Farrell, Youngs, M. Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Curry, Underhill, B. Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Cole, Kruis, Ludlam, Heinz, Ford, Joseph.
Tries: May 2, Sinckler, Watson Pens: Farrell 4 Cons: Farrell 4
Australia: Beale, Hodge, Petaia, Kerevi, Koroibete, Lealiifano, Genia, Sio, Latu, Alaalatoa, Rodda, Arnold, Pocock, Hooper, Naisarani.
Replacements: Uelese, Slipper, Tupou, Coleman, Salakaia-Loto, White, Toomua, O'Connor.
Tries: Koroibete Pens: Lealiifano 3 Cons: Lealiifano
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Little did they know that they were poking the beast — or the ‘runaway rhino’ as Jones put it.
Australia took a 12th-minute lead through the boot of Christian Leali’ifano but that was as good as it got. Australia’s back-row double act of David Pocock and Michael Hooper have written their way into rugby folklore over the past decade but it felt like a changing of the guard as they were outplayed and outmuscled by Sam Underhill and Tom Curry.
‘The Kamikaze Kids’ let rip.
England sussed out Australia’s high-risk strategy. They suffocated them with a punishing count of 181 tackles, including a notable early hit from Underhill, who dumped Isi Naisarani on his backside. The Vunipola brothers, Mako and Billy, tackled themselves into the ground and Farrell made 17 tackles to help nullify Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete.
In attack, Ben Youngs, Farrell, Slade and Elliot Daly quickly moved the ball one way and another, while Manu Tuilagi dotted the Is and crossed the Ts with busting runs through midfield.
After 18 minutes, the combination play paid off and Curry set up Jonny May, in his 50th Test, on the left wing to score.
Within minutes, one try became two. Slade intercepted a loose pass from Pocock and sprinted out of his own 22. With May screaming on his outside, Slade poked a kick behind Kerevi and May gave chase for his second Australia attacked from anywhere. Kurtley Beale’s loose chip out of his own 22 almost gifted England a third try but for a knockon by Slade and England led 17-9 at half-time following an exchange of kicks. Revved up by the words of Cheika, who is now likely to leave his position, Australia started the second half like they did the first.
Petaia ran at Anthony Watson before Koroibete took a steaming line on his inside shoulder and skinned Daly to bring the contest back to life.
The next five minutes, however, would define England’s four years of preparation as they showed they have the power game to compete with anyone in Japan.
Maro Itoje smashed through rucks and, following the lead of Curry and Underhill, Jamie George added to the turnover haul. The mere presence of Billy Vunipola sucked in defenders and, 46 minutes in, with all eyes on the No 8,
Australia came flying out the traps early in the second half to stun England as Marika Koroibete crossed over the line to score
Farrell threw a bullet flat pass to Sinckler, the prop running an incisive line to charge 20 metres to score his first try for England.
Sinckler lay on the ball and spread his arms in raw elation. It proved to be the biggest 10 minutes of his career so far. Moments later, he won a penalty at the scrum. Then, the lad from Tooting ripped the ball from the clutches of Naisarani metres out from his own line.
As the clock approached 70 minutes, Jones brought off George, Underhill and Mako Vunipola. England already knew their passage was secure but they were not done, with Watson’s late interception try ensuring they went through with their biggest knock-out win in World Cup history.
Lealifano was very reliable with his kicking before being substituted early in the second half as he converted the try
May scored the opening try for England against Australia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday
May takes out his gumshield and celebrates with his team-mates having given his side the lead early on in the match
Owen Farrell converts May's early try the try to give England the advantage over the Wallabies at the Oita Bank Dome
Christian Lealiifano scored three penalties in the first half of the match to keep Australia within touching distance
Owen Farrell scores a penalty as Australia's flanker David Pocock (L) and Australia's flanker Michael Hooper watch on