The Sunday Mail
TOKYO. — ENGLAND secured their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a crushing 39-10 victory over Argentina yesterday as the Pumas were forced to play for over an hour with 14 men after lock Tomas Lavanini was sent off for smashing his shoulder into Owen Farrell’s head. England were 5-3 up at the time after a Jonny May try and, though the Pumas battled valiantly for a while, they were eventually overwhelmed as Elliot Daly, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Jack Nowell and Luke Cowan-Dickie all scored, making most of the second half a cruise. Four years after going out of their own tournament at the pool stage, England are now the first team into the last eight in Japan, where they will probably face against Australia or Wales. They can secure top place in Pool C by beating France next weekend.
It was, other than the opening exchanges, a dominant display, and though the red card clearly swung the momentum hugely in England’s favour they showed a growing combination of power and pace that has made them real contenders to lift the trophy for the second time. “I’m happy with how we stuck at the game,” coach Eddie Jones said.
“We didn’t get carried away. That was a banana-slip game for us. Previously we beat them with 14. Daly got sent off (in the fifth minute of a 2016 27-14 Twickenham win) and we beat them easily so you have to be careful. We were just trying to push a bit and we’re a bit rusty after two easy games and a long break and that came out a bit. In the second half we got a better rhythm.”
Argentina’s hopes were then dealt a fatal blow after 17 minutes when Lavanini became the latest player to fall foul of the game’s new high tackle directive when he was sent off for thumping his shoulder into the jaw of Farrell with huge force. Farrell, unusually, hooked all three conversions and a penalty wide, meaning England reached the break 15-3 up but very much in control. Elsewhere in Oita, twice champions Australia overcame a sloppy start to crush Uruguay 45-10 forging towards the World Cup quarter-finals with some exhilarating running rugby despite their problems with high tackles resurfacing at Oita stadium.
And hosts Japan conjured the samurai spirit to smash Samoa 38-19 later yesterday in Totoya City and take a giant step towards a historic quarter-final spot at the Rugby World Cup.
Tries by Samoan-born Timothy Lafaele, Kazuki Himeno, Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima helped make it three wins out of three for the Brave Blossoms, who returned to the top of Pool A.
Yu Tamura scored 18 points on eight of 10 kicking to pace Japan, who added a bonus point through Matsushima’s try long after full-time to take control of their own destiny. — Reuters