England seal Rugby World Cup semi-finals spot as Eddie Jones’ men thrash Australia in Oita | Rugby | Sport


England are into the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with a crushing victory over Australia after two tries in the space of three first-half minutes from Jonny May set them on their way to the last four at Oita Stadium.

It was their first real test of the tournament and they met it magnificently with an all-round performance which the Wallabies could not live with and set out their credentials as possible world champions.

Captain Owen Farrell kicked eight out of eight as England but it was May’s two scores in quick succession on his 50th cap which turned the game their way.

Mako Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi put the Wallabies into reverse with thumping carries and England moved the ball left for Tom Curry to draw the defence and give May a straightforward run-in the 18th minute.

Then, as Australia pressed for a reply, David Pocock’s loose pass was picked off just outside England’s 22 by Henry Slade.

It looked like he would be reeled in by the Wallabies’ defence but the left-footed Exeter centre chipped through with his right foot for the flying May to score and send the big England contingent under the roof wild.

England’s thumping defence, which has conceded just three tries all tournament, proved tough for Australia to breach and they had to settle for three penalties from Christian Leali’ifano for their first half points as Eddie Jones’s side went into the break 17-9 up.

Man of the match Tom Curry was at the heart of the swarming effort but the Wallabies finally breached the England rearguard in the 42nd minute through Marika Koroibete after a brilliant breakaway.

That brought Australia to within a point but it was as close as they would get as England hit back immediately through Kyle Sinckler after a fine flat pass from Owen Farrell who answered any criticism of the decision to play him at stand-off ahead of George Ford.

Three penalties from the England captain put them clear and in the closing stages Anthony Watson picked off an interception try to add the gloss.

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