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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 5 April, 2020


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Good morning, rugby fans. Or, as they say in England and the USA, hello.

Welcome to day seven of the Rugby World Cup where the USA will be the 20th and final team to take the field. For England, it’s the second outing in the tournament and Eddie Jones has named a much-changed side after a four-day turnaround from the win over Tonga.

Here’s how the teams shape up.

The Eagles have Dubliner AJ MacGInty at 10, Corkman John Quill in the back row and two more Irish-born front rowers on the bench in Dylan Fawsitt and Paul Mullen. 

England:Elliot Daly; Ruaridh McConnochie, Jonathan Joseph, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga; George Ford, Willi Heinz: 

Joe Marler, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Lewis Ludlam, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements:Jack Singleton, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Anthony Watson.


USA: Will Hooley; Blaine Scully (c), Marcel Brache, Paul Lasike, Martin Iosefo; AJ MacGinty, Shaun Davies: 

David Ainuu, Joe Taufete’e, Titi Lamositele, Ben Landry, Nick Civetta, Tony Lamborn, John Quill, Cam Dolan.

Replacements: Dylan Fawsitt, Olive  Kilifi, Paul Mullen, Gregg Peterson, Manco Germishuys, Ruben De Haas, Bryce Campbell, Mike Te’o.

KICK-OFF: George Ford gets us under way and Francis does well to smack the man fielding the ball.

MacGinty clears, but the danger is far from over.

Well now, the US force a big early scrum penalty deep in their own territory, but it looks to have come at a cost with loosehead Ainuu needing treatment.

Horrible for the 19-year-old Ainu’u. His ankle looks in bad shape and he’s helped from the field.

Kilifi comes in to join the fray with just 3 minutes on the clock.


George Ford does a good job of kicking for space when giving the ball on the last two possessions.

Not seeking touch, but forcing the Eagles to retreat, turn and run back after the red shirts have had an opportunity to chase. 

Flag 8Mins

There goes Billy. The Saracens star makes the first big inroad and England use that base to attack left, Francis again trucks it up before Launchbury can crash up further.

Space created and George Ford darts in under the posts on a nice angle.

TRY! England 7 USA 0 ( Ford ’6)


Cokanasiga had his first run on England’s left there, but Blaine Scully stood up to the test.

England look happy to mix up some unstructured play today. With Ford in place they certainly have the personnel for it.


Big contestable launched and Will Hooley just about wins a great battle with Elliot Daly.

MacGinty and the US are having to work very hard for their exits here and the latest attempt ends up in an English penalty 40 metres from the American line.


The set-piece worm is turning alright. England asserting dominance with each passing scrum. Most recent penalty is kicked by Ford to the 22. 

They crash up through Billy V and they move through some straight up phases until Pier Francis – who has looked very bright until now – tries to step into space but he’s hit and turned over five metres from the try-line.


TRY! England 14 France 0 (Vunipola ’25)


USA kept up a firm resistance, but the waves of pressure kept coming. And from a five-metre line-out, the English maul rumbled their way over the line with big Billy getting the score at the end.


TRY! England 19 USA 0 (Cowan-Dickie ’34)

Another score for the English pack as they enjoy the fruits of their dominance. The maul flows through the final metres and the hooker gets to dot the ball down.

No conversion this time around, the angle away  out to the right is just too tight for Ford to maintain his 100% record.


Now the maul defence doing a job for England, sapping more strength from their opponents as they try to eke another yard or two in their own 22 before a clearing kick

Vunipola fields the kick, but he’s uncharacteristically bundled into touch.

If it was a close-run contest you were after, I guess you came to the wrong place.

England flexing their muscles with a second string here and you feel for the USA, the last team to play in this tournament, raring to go and full of endeavour, but it’s just so hard to escape your own territory.

Having held Tonga to three points last time out, Eddie Jones’ boys are proving to be a very mean defence indeed.


We’re underway in the second half in Kobe and England definitely haven’t eased off the pedal.

Kyle Sinckler is in for Dan Cole and he is among the big carriers trundling in to white jerseys.

The Chariot is intent on sealing this bonus point sooner rather than later.


Reprieve for the USA and they get an attacking spell in possession. The red line looks utterly secure though and Ludlam gets over the ball and forces a penalty.

England back in American territory on the attack and Joseph goes close with a line break…


TRY! England 24 USA 0 (Cokanasiga ’47)


There’s the bonus point for England.

Joseph took a nice flat pass and spun through contact before keeping his leg drive going right up to the line. The centre did everything but finish and Heinz was on hand to offer the ball up for Cokanasiga to do the honours.

Conversion missed from the right again.

TRY! England 29 USA 0 (McConnochie ’58)


Try number five comes after another long bout of English pressure. This time they look wide to the right for space after making inroads through the middle and McConnochie steps off the touchline and in for his first international try.

The conversion from the right wing is nailed too.

England 31 USA 0

TRY! England 36 USA 0 (Ludlam ’67)


Inside the final 15 minutes and the Eagles are plucked.

They’ve done well to stay on their feet under so much pressure until now, but as Ludlam runs around the corner for an easy score, it’s clear they’re out on their feet.

Conversion is spot on too.

England 38 USA 0


RED CARD: John Quill

The Corkman caught Owen Farrell with a shoulder shot to the chin.

No mitigating circumstances, the ref says, though Farrell had just raised his head having stumbled to take a loose pass from Ford.

TRY! England 43 USA (Cokanasiga )


Ellis Genge made a massive bullocking burst up the left flank to set England away for this cherry-on-top try. With the Eagles stretched, it was meat and drink for the brilliant wing Cokanasiga to finish off.

England 45 USA 0

TRY!  England 45 USA 5 (Campbell ’82)

FULL-TIME: England 45 USA 7 

The Eagles to their credit kept on going despite being thoroughly out-muscled for 80 minutes and they get their reward. A late consolation that avoids the dreaded nil.

MacGinty adds the conversion.

About the author:

Sean Farrell


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