England Opens Rugby World Cup With Bonus Point Win Over Tonga

Third-ranked England defeated fifteenth-ranked Tonga 35-3 in a Pool C match on 22 September at the Sapporo Dome, Sapporo. England took an 18-3 lead into the break. The match may be viewed in the U.S. on NBC Sports Gold on-demand as part of an RWC subscription package.

England will face the USA in their second match on 26 September, the opening one for the Eagles. Tonga will face Argentina on 28 September in an important one for both teams as they seek their first win.

Match Recap

England took a 3-0 lead after Owen Farrell slotted penalty goal after Tonga was penalized for being offsides. Tonga’s Sonatane Takulua answered back with a penalty goal to level the match at 3 all.

England appeared to have scored the first try of the match as Sam Underhill took an offload from Manu Tuilagi. A Siale Piutau roll of Underhill resulted in Underhill being held up in-goal. After the ensuing 5-meter scrum, Manu Tuilagi added a try for an 8-3 lead, with Farrell missing the conversion.

England continued with discipline issues, but an attempted penalty goal by Sonatane Takulua was wide right.

England added a brace from Manu Tuilagi after receiving an inside offload from Jonny May with Owen Farrell adding the extras to lead to 15-3.

After the ensuing restart, England attacked again and while crossing in-goal, lost the ball forward. Tonga played the ball from the ground, which resulted in a penalty with Farrell slotting the kick for an 18-3 lead.

The physicality of Tonga’s play has slowed down England’s attack and has created numerous infractions.

Second Half

England extended their lead early in the half as Owen Farrell slotted a penalty goal, 21-3.

England added their third try as hooker Jamie George mauled his way over in-goal after a lineout, with Farrell adding the conversion, 28-3.

Tonga attempted to score from a lineout 5-meters out, but the maul went to ground, resulting in a turnover to England and a scrum.

Anthony Watson weaved his way through traffic, but an errant pass went into touch. England would get this bonus point try soon after a break Jonathan Joseph, who offloaded to Luke Cowan-Dickie try under the posts. This gave Farrell an easy kick to push the lead to 35-3.

Tonga had the final sustained attack, but a knock-on within 7-meters of the line ended the match.

With the win, England has 5 points in the standings, while Tonga has none. The Player of the Match was Moni Tuilagi with his two tries in the match.

England had two tries in each half but felt defensive pressure by Tonga during the match.


England: 1 Joe Marler 2 Jamie George 3 Kyle Sinckler 4 Courtney Lawes 5 Maro Itoje 6 Tom Curry 7 Sam Underhill 8 Billy Vunipola 9 Ben Youngs 10 George Ford 11 Jonny May 12 Owen Farrell (capt.) 13 Manu Tuilagi 14 Anthony Watson 15 Elliot Daly 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie 17 Ellis Genge 18 Dan Cole 19 George Kruis 20 Lewis Ludlam 21 Willi Heinz 22 Henry Slade 23 Jonathan Joseph

Tonga: 1. Siegfried ‘Fisiihoi 2. Sosefo Sakalia 3. Ben Tameifuna 4. Sam Lousi 5. Halaleva Fifita 6. Sione Kalamafoni 7. Zane Kapeli 8. Maama Vaipulu 9. Sonatane Takulua 10. Kurt Morath 11. Viliami Lolohea 12. Cooper Vuna 13. Siale Piutau (capt.) 14. Atieli Pakalani 15. David Halaifonua 16. Siua Maile 17. Latu Talakai 18. Ma’afu Fia 19. Dan Faleafa 20. Nasi Manu 21. Leon Fukofuka 22. James Faiva 23. Nafi Tu’itavake

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