We’re into the final stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where the last eight teams have a real opportunity to lay down a marker against high quality opposition and send a message to the remaining teams.
England in control
With this in mind, England’s performance today was full of intent. It was clinical, efficient and for the most part disciplined, especially in the second half. England had to weather a storm in the opening 10 minutes of the match but managed to respond brilliantly after Christian Lealiiifano put the Wallabies three points to nil up. Two Jonny May tries in the space of 3 minutes (both converted by Owen Farrell, whose kicking game was excellent compared to his performance against Argentina two weeks ago) put England in control.
The second May try was provided by a well-read Henry Slade interception and kick that put May through, with the winger’s pace doing the damage and putting England 11 points ahead. Despite a 17-9 lead at half time, the game was still firmly in the balance. England was countered by Australia’s supremacy in both territory and possession, with the running game of full back Kurtley Beale and winger Marika Koroibete posing problems.
Even though the score ended 40-16, only a point separated the two sides at one stage as the Australians began the first half with lightning pace and accuracy. Koroibete scored a stunning try, leaving full-back Elliot Daly for dead. The performances of the Wallabies in this World Cup have been characterised by what they produce in the second half (for instance with Fiji and Wales), so the signs looked ominous at this point. However, for the remaining 35 minutes of the second half, England took the ascendancy and never relinquished control after that.
🗣 "We emptied everything into this but we didn't get it which is pretty gutting."
Prop Kyle Sinckler scored a bustling try after a precision pass by Owen Farrell. This was a particularly sweet moment as Sinckler’s performance in the scrum was a little erratic. As the game ticked on with scoreboard pressure mounting (especially via the reliable boot of Farrell, who accumulated 20 points today), Australia’s refusal to deviate from their running rugby proved fatal. Anthony Watson intercepted a long Kurtley Beale pass towards the end of the game which put an already distant England truly out of sight.
Seventh victory for England against the Wallabies
This quarter final was an excellent advert for rugby and the World Cup. It was at times breathless, always physical and with two teams that played contrasting styles. Amazingly too, this was England’s seventh straight victory against the Wallabies since their World Cup 2015 loss at Twickenham (and subsequent exit at the group stages).
Fight hard, give it everything, respect your opponents 👏💪