2019 Rugby World Cup: England v United States
England: (19) 45
Tries: Cokanasiga 2, Ford, Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, McConnochie, Ludlam Cons: Ford 5
United States: (0) 7
Try: Campbell Con: MacGinty
Red card: Quill

England hit their World Cup straps with a seven-try demolition of the USA to make it two bonus-point wins from two.

Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie scored first-half tries from driving mauls after skipper George Ford went under the posts after six minutes.

Four more in the second half – two from Joe Cokanasiga, one apiece from latecomers Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlum – were a fitting reward for a much-improved performance in the heat and humidity of Kobe.

In a World Cup becoming defined by safe tackling technique, US flanker John Quill was sent off for a horrible shoulder charge on replacement Owen Farrell, the England talisman lucky not to suffer serious injury.

But the man Farrell had come on for, Piers Francis, may himself face retrospective action after a questionable challenge in the opening moments of the game.

England’s set-piece was dominant, the US forwards unable to cope at the scrum or to find an answer when their opponents set the maul.

Tougher tests lie ahead in the shape of Argentina and France but England will travel to Tokyo this weekend in much improved mood.

Pace and set-piece yield points

Eddie Jones had promised a fast start and his team delivered, Ford slicing through a stretched defence on the angle – after Vunipola’s initial run and Francis’s foray down the left – to touch down under the posts.

Four penalties conceded in the first 15 minutes slowed the charge, World Cup debutant Willie Heinz over-exuberant and indisciplined at a scrum and ruck and then spilling the ball forward with England three metres out.

But with Ford pulling the strings England kicked a penalty to the corner, Cowan-Dickie went to Tom Curry at the back of the line-out and Vunipola rumbled over at the back of the driving maul.

The US pack was splintering at the set-piece, and after Ford kicked a scrum penalty into touch, another maul sent Cowan-Dickie in for a replica try down the right.

And England nearly had their fourth try just before the interval as Ford’s cute chip was gathered by Jonathan Joseph, Cokanasiga not able to gather the centre’s pass with the line beckoning.

Their 19-0 half-time lead was a fair reflection of the balance of power, England with 66% of possession and 76% territory.

Bolters make their mark on World Cup

Jones took off Vunipola, Dan Cole and Joe Marler at the break with Mark Wilson, Kyle Sinckler and Ellis Genge coming into the fray.

Sinckler and Wilson combined beautifully in midfield before Joseph’s dummy foxed the remaining cover, the centre stepping and spinning to within two metres before Cokanasinga crashed over.

On came Farrell, Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes, Jones trying to manage the workload on his players with the short turnaround between games.

Winger McConnochie blew one opening when he opted to step in rather than pin his ears back for the corner, but the late bolter for England’s World Cup squad made amends moments later as he rolled in after England ran another scrum penalty.

Ludlum was another who was nowhere near this team six months ago yet his dynamic performance was capped with a try of his own after Ford’s sidestep down the left.

And Cokanasiga grabbed his second and England’s seventh after a storming 70-metre run from Genge, who left white-shirted defenders scattered in his wake like tenpins.

Quill was rightly dismissed by Australian referee Nic Berry for his charge on Farrell before a late consolation score from Bryce Campbell with the clock red.

Man of match: George Ford

A smart try and 10 points from the tee capped a confident display, England’s skipper for the night making the most of the time given him by his dominant pack.

Standings

Table

What they said

England World Cup winner Matt Dawson on Radio 5 Live: “The highlight for me was the discipline. I think there were only three penalties, that were all in the first half. It is in stark contrast to where they were last week and the team needed to move on.

“If they can get anywhere near four or five penalties against Argentina, they will blow them away. If they keep progressing like that, they are going to be a difficult team to beat.”

Teams

England: Daly, McConnochie, Joseph, Francis, Cokanasiga, Ford (capt), Heinz; Marler, Cowan-Dickie, Cole, Launchbury, Kruis, Curry, Ludlam, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Singleton, Genge, Sinckler, Lawes, Wilson, Youngs, Farrell, Watson.

United States: Hooley, Scully (capt), Brache, Lasike, Iosefo, MacGinty, Davies; Ainuu, Taufete’e, Lamositele, Landry, Civetta, Lamborn, Quill, Dolan.

Replacements: Fawsitt, Kilifi, Mullen, Peterson, Germishuys, De Haas, Campbell, Te’o.