The USA debut at the 2019 Rugby World Cup was disappointing in a 45-7 loss to England in a Pool C match at Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City. England had a 19-0 lead at the break.
England defeated Tonga 35-3 on 22 September with France in second place with 4 points after a narrow 23-21 win over Argentina the day before. Argentina gained a bonus point in their loss.
With the win, England tops Pool C with a 2-0 record and 10 points in the standings. They will face Argentina next on 5 October, while the USA faces France on 2 October in their second match.
The USA lost David Ainuu within the first three minutes to an ankle injury with Olive Kilifi entering as a replacement.
England struck first from a counterattack of a Shaun Davies box kick. They spun the ball left and after the breakdown, George Ford found a gap for a try under the posts. He followed with a conversion to lead 7-0.
England added a second try by No.8 Billy Vunipola from a maul with Ford adding the extras and added a third by Luke Cowan-Dickie from another maul for a 19-0 lead at the break.
England’s forwards dominated the scrum and their maul drove the Eagles on their back foot. The USA did well in the lineout and poaching at the breakdown, but their lack of possession for most of the half placed their defense under pressure.
England went through phases and a penalty advantage was in effect when Launchbury lost the ball forward. Ford’s kick went in-goal for a USA 22 drop, which then went deep.
The USA then placed some pressure on England after going through phases. England countered moving the ball wide right with wing Joe Cokanasiga scoring the bonus point try to lead 24-0 as Ford’s conversion was wide.
Following a scrum penalty on the USA put in, England attacked from a scrum about 15-meters from in-goal. Four phases later, Ruaridh McConnochie grounded the ball in the right corner with Ford curling in the extras to lead 31-0.
Another sustained attack by England was stopped with Luke Cowan-Dickie losing the ball forward inside the USA 22-meters. England continues to have handling errors despite the lead. The Eagles defense has been under pressure the entire match, but the team has continued to perform with punishing tackles.
Having to defend so often took its toll as England used numbers left for a Lewis Ludlam try. Ford then converted to push the lead to 38-0.
The ensuing restart was muffed by England, with Blaine Scully advancing close to in-goal. A TMO showed John Quill executed a no-wrap shoulder charge on Owen Farrell on the tackle, resulting in a red card. Based on the sanction on Australia’s Hodge, Quill will likely miss the remaining Pool matches after appearing before a World Rugby Discipline Board.
With fatigue setting in, Ellis Gauge powered for a long break and from the breakdown, Joe Cokanasiga finished with a try with the conversion made to push the lead to 45-0.
The match was stopped after Will Hooley was injured after contesting for a high ball. Credit Referee Nic Berry for halting England’s attack as player welfare was of paramount importance. The match subsequently resumed with an England scrum.
The USA had an attacking burst with Te’o stepping defenders. In another attack, Ruben de Haas had a break and Bryce Campbell finishing with a try to eliminate the shutout. AJ MacGinty then slotted the extras for a final of 45-7 to England.
With the win, England moves to 2-0 and tops Pool C with 10 points. They will play Argentina on 5 October. The USA will regroup and play their second match against France on 2 October.
George Ford was named the Player of the Match.
The match was dominated with England having 70% of the possession and spending the majority of time within USA territory. This placed the Eagles under pressure the whole match and it was an exhausting one for the Eagles. An early injury to David Ainuu had Olive Kilifi playing 78 minutes at loosehead prop. The Eagles had 159 tackles with England carrying the ball over 600 meters.
A concern for the USA will be John Quill’s red card and Will Hooley’s injury. The team will need to regroup, look at the video and prepare for France next.
Squads & Match Recap
England: 1. Joe Marler 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie 3. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. George Kruis 6. Tom Curry 7. Lewis Ludlam 8. Billy Vunipola 9. Willi Heinz 10. George Ford (capt) 11. Joe Cokanasiga 12. Piers Francis 13. Jonathan Joseph 14. Ruaridh McConnochie 15. Elliot Daly 16. Jack Singleton 17. Ellis Genge 18. Kyle Sinckler 19. Courtney Lawes 20. Mark Wilson 21. Ben Youngs 22. Owen Farrell 23. Anthony Watson
USA: 1 David Ainuu2 Joe Taufete’e 3 Titi Lamositele 4 Ben Landry 5 Nick Civetta 6 Tony Lamborn 7 John Quill 8 Cam Dolan 9 Shaun Davies 10 AJ MacGinty 11 Martin Iosefo 12 Paul Lasike 13 Marcel Brache 14 Blaine Scully (C) 15 Will Hooley 16 Dylan Fawsitt 17 Olive Kilifi 18 Paul Mullen 19 Greg Patterson 20 Hanco Germishuys 21 Ruben de Haas 22 Bryce Campbell 23 Mike Te’o