Rugby World Cup 2019
England 40-16 Australia
Captain Owen Farrell delivered 20 points with a flawless kicking performance and Jonny May scored a brace of tries as England powered into the Rugby World Cup 2019 semi-finals.
Farrell punished Australia throughout a pulsating match which puts England into their first semi-final since 2007 and takes Eddie Jones’s record to 7-0 against Michael Cheika’s Wallabies.
Australia turned down two kickable penalties in the second half and it cost them dear against an England pack led by Player of the Match Tom Curry, who tackled himself to a standstill. It was Swing Low that echoed around the stadium at the final whistle.
Australia were first to take a grip with some outstanding ball control and England could not hold on to possession. England’s first attack was ruined by a Henry Slade knock on, which Kurtley Beale ran out of defence. When Billy Vunipola made a high tackle it allowed Christian Lealiifano to open the scoring with a penalty.
England finally got their attacking game going as Sam Underhill battled it out at the breakdown with David Pocock and Michael Hooper and the pressure brought a 26th test try for May, to mark his 50th cap. Anthony Watson made ground on the right and when England switched to the left, quick passing by captain Farrell and Curry put May, in for the try, which Farrell converted from the touchline.
Three minutes later May was celebrating another try, which started when Slade intercepted a pass from Pocock in England’s 22 and raced clear. Slade put in a clever right-footed grubber kick that bounced up for May to beat Samu Kerevi to the corner. Farrell supplied another brilliant kick and then exchanged penalties with Lealiifano as the breakdown battle intensified.
Both teams were making handling errors and Australia put pressure on themselves by opting to run out of their 22.
Just before half-time, Kerevi made another telling break and when England transgressed at the scrum, Lealiifano cut England’s lead to eight points.
Full-back Elliot Daly knocked on at the start of the second half and Australia made England pay when a brilliant long pass from Reece Hodge initiated an attack that sent Marika Koroibete racing over for Lealiifano to convert. However, two minutes later May and Watson stretched the Wallaby defence to breaking point and a superb pass by Farrell put Kyle Sinckler in for his first test try.
Sinckler then won a scrum penalty that Farrell kicked. Another followed, to emphasize Australia’s folly. Both teams made a raft of changes for the final quarter, but Farrell kicked three points plus a conversion of Watson’s interception try.