Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Rugby World Cup: George Ford leads the way as England tick all the boxes against USA

Eddie Jones' side put in clinical show against Americans, flanker John Quill gets first red card of tournament

Owen Farrell might have half his nose missing, as Eddie Jones claimed after.

And they might be bracing to hear whether or not Piers Francis will be cited for a high tackle in the very first collision of the match.

But England will be more than satisfied as they comfortably disposed of the United States to make it two wins from two at the start of their Rugby World Cup campaign.

Whether they exactly laid down a marker to the other contenders with their seven-try win on Thursday is debatable.

The 45-7 win in Kobe was, though, marked progress on their stuttering opening day win over Tonga.

The fact this match followed just four days after that bruising meeting with the Pacific islanders might have been a viable excuse for fatigue. Or, given that England had made 10 changes for this game, it could easily have been disjointed.

But in the end, their second-string appeared to be more in sync than their senior colleagues had on Sunday.

George Ford, captain for the day, marked a player of the match display with the opening try. Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie also scored as England reached the interval 19-0 up.

Joe Cokanasiga scored two after the break, with fellow youngster Lewis Ludlam also crossing.

There was also a first Test try for Ruaridh McConnochie, the new wing who might have been surprised to find that America can actually be beaten in rugby with such a minimum of fuss.

Most of McConnochie’s international rugby experience to date has come in sevens, where the United States are a coming force.

Last season, for instance, they finished second on the World Series, while England were down in fifth.

Other than that, the game was significant mainly for the first red card of the World Cup, shown to US flanker John Quill for a shoulder barge that made contact with Farrell’s head.

KOBE, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 26: John Quill of USA reacts after being sent off for a tackle on Owen Farrell of England during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group C game between England and USA at Kobe Misaki Stadium on September 26, 2019 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
John Quill of USA was sent off for a tackle on Owen Farrell of England. Getty

Farrell, who had only come on as a second-half replacement, was already sporting a cut nose after an earlier collision.

“I think he is missing half his nose so I’m sure it’s out there, and I just hope it doesn’t end up on the barbecue tonight,” Jones, England’s coach, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Given how much time has been spent assessing high-tackles, and the sanctioning of them, so far in this World Cup, it did feel as though the first red card had been a while coming.

Quill could have no defence for his sending off, but England might yet have to deal with retrospective punishment for Francis.

“We will leave all of that to the judicial process, and we are happy to take whatever they give us,” Jones said.

It was a very poor performance by us.

USA coach Gary Gold

“Piers went in to make a tackle, and there is not one player in our team who deliberately tackles high. We want to tackle hard and sometime you make mistakes.”

The US earned praise for their display by many observers, and avoided going pointless when Bryce Campbell crossed in stoppage time.

But Gary Gold, the US coach, was far from impressed, labelling his side’s display “awful”.

“It was a very poor performance by us,” Gold said in his post-match TV interview.

“I think England were very good, very well deserved winners. We knew what a quality team they are and unfortunately we paid the price when we made mistakes.

“Every aspect of our game [went wrong]. We can’t be missing more than 40 tackles and hope you are going to be in the equation. It was a pretty awful performance by us.”

Updated: September 26, 2019 09:31 PM

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