Written by Reuters
19 Oct, 2019 | 3:14 pm
England are into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 12 years as they ruthlessly dispatched old rivals Australia. Two first-half tries in four minutes from Jonny May on his 50th cap helped establish a 17-9 half-time lead before a sensational score from Marika Koroibete brought the Wallabies to within a point.
But prop Kyle Sinckler smashed through from Owen Farrell’s flat pass as England regained control, the fly-half landing 20 points with his boot to crush Australian hopes before Anthony Watson applied the coup de grace with a late interception try. It was England’s best performance of a World Cup when they have seldom been tested, the decision of coach Eddie Jones to start Farrell in place of George Ford vindicated by a seventh successive win over his home country.
Four years ago England were sent packing at the group stage from the tournament they were hosting by Michael Cheika’s side. But with the young back-row combination of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill outstanding, this was sweet revenge, a last-four meeting with New Zealand or Ireland in a week’s time the rich reward. Australia came out fast and battered away at the England defence, the men in white forced into 30 tackles in the first three minutes, Christian Lealiifano’s penalty reflecting the early balance of power.
But after England had twice wasted overlaps in the opposition 22, they struck twice in quick succession to stun the Wallabies. First Farrell went left after Watson had made inroads down the right, and with the defence stretched Curry committed the last man before putting May into the corner. Farrell curled the conversion over from the touchline and with English celebrations still ringing round the stadium Australia handed over another priceless gift. David Pocock threw a needless loose pass in midfield, Henry Slade gathered, charged into space and kicked cleverly ahead and May gathered the bouncing ball to dive into the same little patch beyond the try-line.
Lealiifano brought it back to 14-6 with his second penalty after Slade strayed offside but Farrell popped over one of his own to re-establish the 11-point lead on the half-hour and there was palpable relief among the gold-shirted support when a scrum penalty after a typically bullocking run from Samu Kerevi allowed Lealiifano to make it 17-9 at the interval. Australia had been nine points down to Fiji and 15 to Wales in the group stage before charging back, and within moments of the restart, they had closed the gap to a single point.
Winger Reece Hodge spotted space beyond Slade and threw a long pass to 19-year-old Jordan Petaia, and Koroibete came accelerating up on his inside before leaving Elliot Daly for dead on the outside. It was a stunning try but England struck back immediately in a similar style. After a poor kick from the struggling Will Genia, England battered to within 25 metres before Farrell’s sweet flat pass found Sinckler hammering through like a runaway dumper-truck for his first international try. Farrell made it 27-16 after Australia’s scrum splintered and then the defence held firm on their own line despite repeated Wallaby charges before Farrell twisted the knife again with two more penalties. With Australia 17 points down and time running out, Watson picked off Beale’s desperate long pass in search of Hooper, and England could celebrate a first win in knock-out rugby since 2007. The 21-year-old was up against the best flankers in international rugby across the last two World Cups in David Pocock and Michael Hooper. Curry was outstanding throughout, making 16 tackles and with partner-in-crime, Sam Underhill dominated their storied opposite numbers.
Script Courtesy to BBC News
16 Jan, 2020 | 10:19 AM
12 Dec, 2019 | 01:15 PM
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