Eddie Jones’ new-look England introduce 12 debutants in seven-try 43-29 win against the USA, with Joe Cokanasiga, Marcus Smith and Harry Randall on the scoresheet… so why is it still hard to get excited about them?Eddie Jones spoke beforehand about making his pack ‘feared around the world’That failed to materialise against a resolute American side on Independence Day Moreover, a young, dynamic and exciting backline failed to spark into life fully
An England team packed with sparkle failed to light too many fireworks at Twickenham — despite easily beating the USA.
They scored seven tries — two for Joe Cokanasiga, and one each for Sam Underhill, Ollie Lawrence, Jamie Blamire, Marcus Smith and Harry Randall — but in conceding four and struggling for continuity in defence, attack or at set-pieces, it was hard to get excited.
England fans desperate to see young stars let loose — 12 of them made debuts — saw glimpses of individualism.
England’s Eddie Jones talked of making his pack ‘feared around the world’ before USA game
But that failed to materialise against a resolute USA despite a 43-29 win for his young charges
ENGLAND AGAINST USA: MATCH FACTS
ENGLAND: Steward 8; Cokanasiga 7, Slade 5, Lawrence 6.5 (Robson 34, 6), Malins 7 (Umaga 9, 5); Smith 6.5, Randall 7; Genge 5.5 (Obano 58, 6), Langdon 6 (Blamire 48, 6), Heyes 5 (Davison 55, 6), McNally 6 (T Hill 48, 6), Ewels 6, Ludlow 6.5 (Ludlam 54, 6), Underhill 7.5, Chick 6 (B Curry 54, 6).
USA: Brache (Dyer 34); Te’o, Campbell, Whiting, Kruse; Carty, de Haas (Baska 71); Ainu’u (Harmon 75), Sosene-Feagai (Taufete’e 48) Mullen (Waldren 48), Peterson, Civetta (Brakeley 51), Fa’anana-Schultz (Wooching 51), Hattingh, Dolan (Germishuys 68).
‘We weren’t tested in the heat of a Six Nations game in front of 80,000 people and the pride of the country on the mantel,’ said Eddie Jones afterwards.
‘I am certainly pleased with the way they handled it but there are bigger tests to come.
‘They only got mild water poured over them today — we still have to wait and see when it gets hot water on it.’
The Americans, having not played since the 2019 World Cup, will be rightly proud of their Independence Day afternoon, never wilting and playing right to the last.
It was classic Jones to pick such an exciting, young and dynamic backline, then make this game all about pack dominance — speaking of making England a ‘pack that’s feared around the world’ again.
His decision to pick six forward substitutes, only two backs, unfortunately backfired and created a mish-mash out wide.
Two first-half injuries meant England had Dan Robson and Jacob Umaga out of position, the Wasps half-backs at wing and centre.
Max Malins injured his collarbone setting up a fine try for Sam Underhill, whacked into touch when catching Smith’s kick-off after a USA penalty and offloading inside. So that was him off after nine minutes, and out of the Canada game next Saturday, then Lawrence was next.
He scored while mooning to the world after Mike Te’o had pulled his shorts down as he touched down, then blindsided full-back Marcel Brache and seemed to knock himself out.
Wing Joe Cokanasiga (left) enjoyed a welcome return to try-scoring form, going over twice
Cokanasiga enjoyed a return to try-scoring form, playing his first Test since the World Cup game against the States in 2019, taking two.
One was an easy touchdown after a good chip from the classy Freddie Steward, the full-back looking ready-made for senior rugby, and then he flew on to Smith’s fizzed ball to power in for his second of the day and eighth in 10 Tests.
The attempt to batter the Americans up front was not altogether successful — after half-time the visitors scored a driving maul try from Jamason Fa’anana Schultz and England’s scrum never settled.
England did cap 12 new players, the most for the national side since the first game after World War Two in 1947, and replacement hooker Jamie Blamire scored with his second touch after charging down scrum-half Ruben de Haas.
Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall looked lively at times and scored after a fine dummy
But US No 8 Cam Dolan repeated Blamire’s trick on Randall and had a charge-down try of his own as England muddled through.
Randall provided for Smith to score, then showed good instinct by dummying and nipping through to touch down himself. Smith kicked four conversions.
The Americans would not go away, Hanco Germishuys and Christian Dyer scoring between a denied try for Lewis Ludlam.
USA coach Gary Gold was rightly proud of his side, who had not played for so long. ‘Things could have gone belly up at half-time,’ he said. ‘Other teams may have given up.’
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