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RWC: England eliminate Australia with impressive victory

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 19 Oct 2019, 10:41PM
Allan Alaalatoa of Australia looks dejected on the bench. Photo / Getty
Allan Alaalatoa of Australia looks dejected on the bench. Photo / Getty

RWC: England eliminate Australia with impressive victory

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 19 Oct 2019, 10:41PM

The chariot rolls on.

England has marched into the World Cup semifinals, with a stunning 40-16 victory over the Wallabies.

It was a dominant performance by Eddie Jones' men, and by far their best of the tournament.

The Wallabies never gave up but were far too loose, and were gradually worn down, and had the life squeezed out of them in the second half.

Their forwards were constantly smashed behind the advantage line, as England's power, size and strength was too much.

The decision by Jones to start Owen Farrell was vindicated, as the Saracens first-five was superb.

He ran the backline with aplomb, kicked impeccably from the tee, and set up their crucial third try with a peach of a pass.

England are now one game away from reaching their first World Cup final since 2007.

It is the fifth time that have made the last four of the tournament, after semifinals in 1991, 1995, 2003 and 2007.

This match had some perfect storylines, from coaches Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika being former Randwick teammates, to the epic World Cup rivalry these teams have enjoyed over the years. Both have stymied respective home World Cup dreams (Australia in 1991 and England in 2003), and the Wallabies' only two previous quarter-final exits had been delivered by England (1995 and 2007).

The Wallabies had all the early ascendancy, monopolising possession in the first 10 minutes. A Kurtley Beale break led to a Christian Lealiifano penalty, but then the match turned sharply. England laid siege to the Wallabies line, hammering into the gold defence.

A brilliant David Pocock steal provided some respite, but England nailed their next opportunity, with wing Jonny May crossing in the corner after sustained attack.

Three minutes later the large contingent of English support inside Oita's space age stadium were rocking, as their team went further ahead, with an opportunistic long range try.

It started from a rare Pocock error, with his pass intercepted by Henry Slade 30 metres from the England line. Slade careered away, before a clever kick set up May to finish in the same corner.

At that stage it looked like it could turn ugly for the 2015 finalists, but Australia stayed in the fight and both teams traded penalties before halftime.

After a typical fiery Cheika halftime address, the Wallabies made an explosive start to the second half, with Marika Koroibete scorching away for one of the tries of the tournament.

England's compressed line was caught short, and the former Storm wing blitzed two defenders, to drag Australia back within one point.

But the 2003 champions replied almost immediately, with a perfect Farrell cut-out pass at the advantage line sending prop Kyle Sinckler on an improbable 20 metre run to the line.

With a 11 point deficit, the Wallabies turned down a kickable penalty in front of the posts, but couldn't profit after nine phases of attack. That was a turning point, and when Farrell added another penalty with 15 minutes to play, it was a long way back for the Wallabies.

Two more penalties twisted the knife, before Anthony Watson's intercept try blew the score out completely.

England 40 (J.May 2, K.Sinckler, A.Watson tries; O.Farrell 3 cons, 4 pens)
Australia 16 (M. Koroibete try; C. Lealiifano 3 pens, con)
Halftime: 17-9

 

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