2019 Rugby World Cup

England vs USA Game Report [Spoilers]

England vs USA Game Report [Spoilers]

England beats the USA in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Sep 26, 2019 by Alex Goff
England vs USA Game Report [Spoilers]

England clamped an iron-mailed fist around the USA and squeezed hard, producing a 45-7 victory that bodes well for England's prospects — and left the USA reeling.

Full Game Stats 

The bad news for the USA wasn't just about the score. Starting loosehead prop David Ainuu left the game injured after less than three minutes, requiring replacement Olive Kilifi to run on much earlier than he expected. Kilifi put in a full day's work.

Starting tighthead prop Titi Lamositele limped off after about 42 minutes, meaning the USA's starting props logged 45 minutes in total. Will Hooley suffered what appeared to be a serious injury — possibly a concussion — late in the game. And John Quill got a red card.

That's four starting players who are doubtful to likely unavailable for the USA's next game, which is against France on October 2.

Meanwhile, England had the vast majority of possession and territory, and only some desperate USA defense prevented a runaway.

The Eagles were on the back foot from the get-go, but Nick Civetta helped force a turnover and Shaun Davies was then tackled without the ball at the ensuing scrum.

However, England had also driven sideways on that scrum and weren't penalized for that. The result was an ankle injury for Ainuu, who tried to stay on but eventually was helped off by his teammates. That set the USA plan back a bit.

England Breaks Through

A deep kick by England captain George Ford pinned wing Martin Iosefo deep in his end, and England pressured, and eventually Ford had a mismatch with Civetta and raced in for the first England try.

England continued to dominate possession and break USA tackles, but the Eagles held on and didn't give up another try until 24 minutes in. England took the ljneout and mauled fairly easily over the line with Billy Vunipola touching it down. From the ensuing restart, Hooley tried to keep an England clearance kick infield. It was a miscalculation. Hooley touched the ball as it went out, giving England the lineout, and a few minutes later England was mauling it over again, this time with Luke Cowan-Dickie doing the honors.

Ford, who had converted the first two tries, hit the post on this one as Marcel Brache almost blocked the kick.

Amazingly, the Eagles held the English out for the rest of the half. The backs got a tiny sniff of possession, but the continuity wasn't quite there.

Second Half

At the beginning of the second half, Lamositele was taken off, and Hooley left for a blood sub, replaced temporarily by Mike Te'o. Te'o immediately tried to inject something in the USA attack, but in the end England scored again.

A USA attack was halted due to a holding-on penalty, and quickly England attacked, cutting through the USA line. Jonathan Joseph faked out three players to almost make it to the line, and then it was just a case of recycling and giving it to wing Joe Cokanasiga, who basically had to fall over to score. He did.

Penalties in the scrums led to a quick tap and ball out to Ruaridh McConnochie for another try.

The game was sloppy at times, but it seemed like every dropped ball or kick that hit the ground landed in England's hands. Even turnovers that would normally lead to USA scoring chances somehow didn't work. England finished off some rather wild open play with a try for Lewis Ludlum, and Cokanasiga scored a few minutes after.

Seeing Red

In between those two, however, the Eagles suffered another blow. England quick-tapped in their own 22 after Blaine Scully had taken the USA slow to the line. Owen Farrell couldn't get the handle on the ball and dropped it. As he did so, Quill came in and bashed the English player with his shoulder, hitting the head.

One might argue that Quill was trying to avoid a worse collision, and certainly slow motion made it look worse, but referee Nic Berry studied it closely and showed Quill a red card.

It's unlikely Quill will see much more of the World Cup now.

Despite being shorthanded, the Eagles kept playing. Te'o created a lovely break and had Ruben de Haas on his hip, but de Haas was a bit flat and Te'o's pass a bit low, and the ball hit the deck.

Amazingly, both sides kept playing after the 80 minutes were up. The Eagles once again had a shot, with de Haas weaving all on his own. Iosefo came close, but England stole the ball.


Finally, Ben Landry came in to poach the ball back, and somehow the rock was bobbled and passed out to Bryce Campbell, who went over for the try. It was a positive way to end it and showed that the USA team didn't stop playing, but it was England's day.

For the USA, the maul defense let them down, and missing 54 tackles didn't help. However, the USA tackle rate improved after a stern talking-to from their coach at halftime. The USA kicked way, way too much possession away, and the kicks were, for the most part, poor. AJ MacGinty was too conservative on his kicks to touch when the USA needed every meter, and several times Paul Lasike and Martin Iosefo were forced to kick clear — they did their best but that's not their main skill.

England will have to feel pretty good about how the forwards controlled set piece and the maul, and worked well in the rucks. Ford was named player of the game, but there's no doubt it was the single-digit players who won the day for England.

England 45
Tries: Ford, Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Cokanasiga 2, McConnochie, Ludlam
Convs: Ford 5

Tries: Campbell
Convs: MacGinty