England secured a place in the Rugby World Cup semi-final thanks to a 40-16 win over Australia in Oita, Japan. The first halfway keenly contested, but England were more disciplined than the Australians and got their noses in front thanks to two quick Jonny May tries. Australia continued to show fight and got right back into the game after half-time but England then went up the other end and immediately regained their advantage thanks to Kyle Sinckler’s first-ever England score before Anthony Watson sealed the deal late on with a try of his own. Here’s how we rated the England players after the game.
1. Mako Vunipola - 8
For a man who has had injury issues, he looked very fit here! His early carry set up the first try and he was immense throughout.
2. Jamie George - 10
My personal Man of the Match. Some say that Jamie George is the best hooker in world rugby and his performance in Oita. He was pretty much unplayable at times.
3. Kyle Sinckler - 9
Had an indifferent time at the scrum in the first half, but had the moment of his life by scoring England’s third try, and his first-ever at international level, with a burst of speed that Jonny May would be proud of! Caused a crucial goalline turnover in the second half to deny what looked a certain Australia score.
4. Maro Itoje - 8
Used his towering frame to great effect, especially in the first 20 minutes or so, where he defended very well.
5. Courtney Lawes - 8
Showed his amazing tackling skills time and time again, more than justifying his selection.
6. Tom Curry - 9
Showcased his incredible work rate in the first half by getting to Reece Hodge and hitting him with an amazing tackle to force a turnover and that was just typical of his all-round performance. It’s easy to forget that he’s just 21-years-old when he plays like that!
7. Sam Underhill - 9
Combined well with Curry and completely outplayed Pocock and Hooper at the breakdown. A sensational performance.
8. Billy Vunipola - 5
Didn’t really manage to get himself into the game as Australia didn’t allow him to get anything going with the ball in hand.
9. Ben Youngs - 7
Youngs was very good in defence and was able to get the ball away quickly at times. Nearly got a try of his own but dropped the ball just before he grounded it.
10. Owen Farrell - 9
After a poor kicking display against Argentina, he was perfect with his boot, kicking four penalties and four conversions. His pass to release Sinckler for England’s third try was excellent too.
11. Jonny May - 8
His first try was a pretty simple one, the second was a display of his devastating speed as he overtook Henry Slade and got on the end of his excellent kick.
12. Manu Tuilagi - 6
A quieter game from Tuilagi, who uncharacteristically missed a few tackles.
13. Henry Slade - 6
A mixed bag from Slade. Showed unbelievable skill in the build-up to the second try with a wonderful kick to free May after a timely interception, but had a few silly errors mixed in there too, perhaps a bit too impulsive at times. Replaced oby Ford n the hour mark.
14. Anthony Watson - 8
Put a bow on things with the final try as he intercepted an ambitious Australia pass and ran it in. Didn’t see too much ball in the game but was pretty good when he did get it.
15. Elliot Daly - 4
Elliot Daly didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his rather poor defensive display.
Replacement: George Ford - 8
Came on to essentially manage the game and did that job very well with his very accurate kicking.
Replacement: Dan Cole - 7
The veteran came on and continued to good work of England’s forwards.
Replacement: George Kruis - 7
Not a bad guy to bring off the bench. Did his job well with minimal fuss.
Replacement: Joe Marler - 7
Another good replacement to bring on. Joe Marler ended the game very well.
Replacement: Lewis Ludlam - 6
Didn’t really have a lot to do, in truth.
Replacement: Luke Cowan-Dickie - 6
Similar to Lewis Ludlam, the game was well in hand by the time Cowan-Dickie was introduced.
Replacement: Willi Heinz - 6
Replaced Ben Youngs late on and helped England secure their victory by keeping things pretty simple.
Replacement: Jonathan Joseph - 6
Only on for the final eight minutes or so, not much time to do anything of real note!