USA were never expected to win this fixture, but neither were they expected to play with the cohesion, structure and composure that were witnessed in this game.
The final score of 45 – 7 in favour of England was not an indication of a poor performance on the part of USA, but rather an exceptionally well structured and dominant performance by England.
As is to be expected of an Eddy Jones coached side, England were well organised, patient and tenacious in their attack, and solid defensively.
It was so encouraging to see USA score points. As the clock passed the 80-minute mark the score was 45 – 0. England determined to record a half century and USA desperate to ruin England’s clean sheet. We saw the ball change hands no less than 5 times, before USA crashed over for their first points. Better 82 minutes late than never!
But as has been the case too often this World Cup, high tackles dominated the discussion. Not only did we see the first Red Card of the tournament when with 10 minutes to go a shoulder charge to the head, with force after the whistle, was correctly dealt with, sending the offender for an early shower. But only 7 seconds into the match, the reciever from the kick off was taken high with shoulder contact directly to the head. There was no action taken at the time, but the player has since been cited. If the two citing’s that have come to a conclusion to date are anything to go by Piers Francis will be sitting out the next 3 games (at least).
World Rugby are clamping down on high tackles and head contact. I’m pleased by this affirmative action. But one thing is for sure, for better or worse, you make contact with a player’s head, your World Cup is all but over!