England demonstrated they will take some beating at the Rugby World Cup as they pounded their old rivals Australia 40-16 to turn into the first group to arrive the semi-finals on Saturday.
Wing Jonny May scored the initial two of England’s four attempts in three first-half minutes as they set up a last-four conflict against protecting bosses New Zealand or Ireland, who play later.
Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson crossed in the subsequent half and 20 points spilled out of Owen Farrell’s ideal kicking as Eddie Jones’ men throttled the Wallabies’ tries to hook their way again into it.
“We did what’s needed. We had the lead and obviously Australia were throwing everything at us. We wanted to play the game at our pace not theirs, and we did that in the second half,” said Farrell.
With his agreement up after the World Cup, the destruction seems to have finished Michael Cheika’s five-year stint as Wallabies coach whose feature was arriving at the World Cup last in 2015.
“The better team won, that’s the way it is. You’ve got to suck that up sometimes. I was supposed to get this done for the people here and the Australians. It’s so disappointing,” said Cheika.
Australia looked hazardous at an early stage however England held onto the bit of leeway with May’s quickfire attempt twofold. But Britain extended the Australian protection as they assaulted right and after that left, before man of the match Tom Curry attracted the last safeguard to give the left wing a simple score in the corner.
Henry Slade then blocked the ball on midway and dashed towards the attempt line before chipping into space with a kick that was deftly assembled by the England wing.
Three Christian Lealiifano punishments kept Australia in contact at 17-9 at half-time, and they returned raging after the restart when Marika Koroibete cleaned Elliot Daly to cross for the Wallabies.
In any case, England hit back very quickly when Farrell selected Sinckler with a projectile pass and the prop burst through a hole for his first international attempt.
Watson’s late capture attempt finished the activity for England, who equalled their record edge of victory against Australia – and beat them for a third time in the World Cup quarter-finals.
In Saturday’s second match the All Blacks, going for their third straight title, will begin as firm top choices against an Ireland group who are yet to find their sweet spot in Japan.
Notwithstanding, the two groups are aware of the way that Ireland have won two of their last three games against the world’s top-positioned side, after 2016’s 40-29 win in Chicago and a 16-9 triumph in Dublin a year ago.
Conor Murray and World Player of the Year Johnny Sexton, one of the world’s most settled and considerable half-back pairings, lead Irish expectations against a young New Zealand back line.
Beauden Barrett stays at fullback behind fly-half Richie Mo’unga in Hansen’s double play-maker ploy, while Jack Goodhue comes into the focuses and Sevu Reece and George Bridge are on the wings.
“It’s a little bit surreal, it’s a little bit ‘I can’t believe it’s finally here’. This time four years ago I was a spectator like you guys and it’s not a great place to be,” said Sexton.
Sexton missed Ireland’s 2015 quarter-final; a 43-20 defeat to Argentina with a groin strain, and this is what he think next:
“So I’m really looking forward to going out there on the biggest stage and trying to show what we can do against the best team in the world, a team that hasn’t lost for two World Cups,” he said.
On Sunday, Wales face France in Oita and hosts Japan, the competition’s unexpected bundle, play the main World Cup quarter-last in their history against South Africa in Tokyo.