Following England ensured a Rugby World Cup semi-final using an entertaining 40-16 win over Australia at Oita since 2007 we look at the talking points.
Eddie Jones’ side notched attempts by wing Jonny May (2 ), tighthead prop Kyler Sinckler and opposite wing Anthony Watson in a superbly-clinical display.
Here is the thing stood out following a landmark Test game performance in Japan’s deep south…
If one element to the Test match has been siphoned, it was the superiority in this facet of England and the importance of turnovers.
The Wallabies, so famed for their work that is back-row along with the skills of the likes of David Pocock and Michael Hooper across the ball, were outshone in this regard, and it revealed their undoing.
Sam Underhill along with flankers Tom Curry – England variation on Australia hazard – were the outstanding players around the pitch and also moments along with other members of significance of the forward pack.
While Curry made 16 and the group combined to interrupt and turn over ball all game , underhill made 20 tackles.
Australia went 3-0 ahead before Underhill got England to the match from the restart because his statement tackle about the Wallabies’ primary forwards ball company, Isi Naisarani, cut on the No 8 half and pumped Australia back after their confident beginning.
Wallabies tighthead Allan Alaalatoa knocked on within his own 22 a stage later, from which England created two enormous chances down the left: first, center Henry Slade failed to use a four-on-two overload, even until hooker Jamie George also failed to find May on an overlap moments later down the blindside. May will score the first attempt.
Since the first half drew to a close, England consolidated their lead since Curry finished eight stages of Australia assault in their half using a turnover on 32 minutes, until Curry and Underhill combined on 33 minutes: Curry with the enormous hit, Underhill interrupting on the floor, to force a knock and win the ball back again. The Wallabies were suffocating.
About 49 minutes, both induce the maul that was unplayable, Billy and George Vunipola combined to maintain Alaalatoa up and turn the ball over before England won an scrum penalty and kicked three more points.
For the time with the chunk of many Australia, it was becoming pinched or stolen as it mattered.
The example of this, and also also the most critical moment in the game, was around 61 minutes. Australia were again to bring the game back . Regular shots double turned down at goal for assaulting set-pieces: kicking to touch for a lineout about 55 minutes and calling a scrum on 57 minutes.
However, it proved useless when possession from Naisarani metres ripped back after nine stages from his own try-line, making back possession for England, before Will Genia knocked in the exact next ruck near following England’s clearance kick.
Were Australia to get play – since they seemed likely to do – the game could have been back to four factors along with also the Wallabies’ tails perking up. They had been deflated and from that minute on, there was no way backwards, When it was. Turnovers were the key.
Indeed, were it not for their knack of forcing turnovers that were pivotal and the nature with which they took their tries, England would have been in a bit of trouble – that is exactly what the stats point to.
Despite the dominant scoreline – perhaps not a reasonable reflection of this quarter-final in all truth – on paper, England were second best in almost all relevant locations.
On the face of it it was a competition. Australia dominated possession (64 per cent), territory (55 per cent) gained much more metres in attack (568m into England’s 274m), created more than double the carries (151 into 71), had greater gain-line achievement (57 to 36), surrendered less penalties (five to England’s eight) and overlooked fewer tackles (12 to England’s 21).
As stated previously, however, ball turned over at moments in areas that were crucial and forced 12 Australia handling errors.
Head trainer Jones spent the vast majority of the England warm-up watching and standing Australia intensely ignoring his own players. It ended up being style and a focus his side took onto the pitch.
The caveat to such a functionality, is that England will know they will get beaten at the last four whether they are to give up to the All Blacks.
Give that spell time on the chunk to New Zealand, that chance to gain metres and make conquer and line-breaks is a near-inevitability. Another functionality: more and less defensive possession protective is required.
It never stops to amaze just how much could change in a year in sport. This time Jones’ England were away from the rear of a Six Nations effort where they had been swept apart from Scotland in Edinburgh, France at Ireland and Paris in Twickenham.
They embarked on a summer series before claiming the next to lose 2-1, where they had been dispatched in the first two Tests to go down 2-0.
And even over South Africa at Twickenham, England maintained a success in November of last year after being outplayed.
In each of those they seemed anything but World Cup contenders. Yet, roll into 2019, shake up things a little concerning team choice (George, Curry, Slade all-in ) and get some important players back from injury (Underhill, Tuilagi, Billy Vunipola, Watson) – England today look like the real thing.
It all started in February of the year, even when they went to Dublin and beat Ireland – then away from of beating New Zealand in the fall, the rear and safeguarding Grand Slam champions – playing some rugby.
England came in vain that was optimistic, and could not be more convinced after cleaning Australia aside.
In the other end of things, the defeat presumably signifies the end of Michael Cheika’s colourful five-year Australia tenure. It’s possible they have shown World Cup guarantee, but ultimately lost their two significant gamesto Wales in Pool D and England.
They end 2019 using four declines from 10 Tests (four of the six victories coming against Argentina, Uruguay, Fiji and Samoa), whereas Australia’s 2018 effort was their worst because Cheika occurred in October 2014, since they won just four by 13 Tests.
Previous full campaigns under Cheika had yielded six successes in 2016 along with 10 drops in 2015, just two reductions and seven wins in 2017. They haven’t improved under the Aussie that was under-fire and combustible.
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