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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020

Daly at the double as England overpower Samoa

Dylan Hartley, captain for all their previous 22 Tests under Eddie Jones, was benched.

England's Elliot Daly (centre) and Samoa's Kieron Fonotia (right) compete for the ball.
England's Elliot Daly (centre) and Samoa's Kieron Fonotia (right) compete for the ball.
Image: Paul Harding

ELLIOT DALY SCORED two tries as a much-changed England ended the year with a comfortable if scrappy 48-14 win over Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

England scored seven tries in total, with fly-half George Ford kicking the remainder of their points.

Victory gave Eddie Jones his 22nd win in 23 Tests as England coach.

But his side were often bested at the breakdown by Samoa before scoring 19 points in the closing 11 minutes after the Islanders’ blindside flanker Piula Faasalele was sin-binned.

- ‘Muddling’ -

Jones made nine changes following last week’s 30-6 win over his native Australia in a bid to develop England’s depth ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“It was a muddling performance,” Jones told Sky Sports after England made it three victories out of three this month, having also beaten Argentina at Twickenham.

“We started well but got seduced by the perceived easiness of the match and stopped doing the small things well and got pulled back before finishing it off,” the former Australia and Japan coach added.

“We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do. We don’t have the consistency yet but we’ve got two years to put that right.”

Meanwhile Samoa coach Titimaea Tafua was left to rue Faasalele’s yellow card for infringing at a ruck.

“During the time one of our players was sent off, they scored 19 points,” he said.

“We can’t play against one of the best teams in the world making these mistakes.”

The build-up to this match had seen England’s Rugby Football Union pledge to give the cash-strapped Samoa Rugby Union £75,000 ($99,767, 84,194 euros) from the proceeds of Saturday’s fixture, although England’s players decided against donating part of their match fees.

Dylan Hartley, England’s captain for all their previous 22 Tests under Jones, was benched with British and Irish Lions hooker Jamie George given a first Red Rose start in his place.

- Quick start -

It took England less than two minutes to score Saturday’s first try after recalled flanker Maro Itoje made a blindside break before sending in returning fullback Mike Brown.

Ford, kicking in place of the rested Owen Farrell, added the conversion after officials checked for an earlier knock-on.

Minutes later, England were 12-0 up as Alex Lozowski scored his first England try.

Samoa failed to deal with a high kick, with Daly regathering the loose ball.

Daly found George who then produced an inside pass that allowed centre Lozowski a clear run to the line.

Samoa, however, responded soon afterwards with Faasalele burrowing over from close range for a 13th-minute try converted by Tim Nanai-Williams.

Ford though extended England’s lead with a 19th-minute penalty.

England, previously sucked into playing an open game that suited Samoa, started to work the ball through their forwards.

This policy was rewarded when, after running a couple of penalties inside Samoa’s 22, scrum-half Danny Care fed lock Charlie Ewels for a converted close-range try in the 29th minute.

England, having declined kickable penalties only to be denied further tries by sloppy errors, led by 15 points at the interval.

They should have had another try early in the second half after Brown surged into Samoa’s 22 but Care knocked on a poor pass from Lozowski, the son of former England international Rob Lozowski.

Samoa put in some typically thumping tackles without threatening a comeback.

And when England at last completed a second-half handling movement, Ford’s flat pass found Daly for a try.

Then came the flourish, centre Henry Slade scoring England’s fifth try after running a neat line onto a pass from Ben Youngs 10 minutes from time.

At the other end, Samoa captain Chris Vui scored his first Test try before Daly scythed past four defenders for his second score.

A crowd of nearly 82,000 then saw the final play produce the ninth try of the match, with Slade setting up replacement wing Semesa Rokoduguni.

- © AFP, 2017

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