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England through to RWC semi-finals

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England dispatch Australia to qualify for World Cup semi-finals

England have qualified for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in comprehensive fashion, downing Australia 40-16 in the opening knockout clash of the tournament in Oita.

A first half double to Jonny May spurred Eddie Jones’ side to an early 14-3 lead, with both tries coming within just three minute of each other near the 20 minute mark.

Despite the early deficit, the Wallabies persisted with goal-kicking from penalties conceded by the English defence, with playmaker Christian Lealiifano landing three goals from the tee it offset Owen Farrell’s solitary penalty, leaving the halftime score at 17-9 in favour of the Brits.

A blistering turn of pace early in the second half by Marika Koroibete turned Elliot Daly inside out to restore some faith for the Australian fans, but any hope of a Wallaby victory slowly evaporate throughout the second stanza.

First it was prop Kyle Sinckler who latched onto a stunning flat ball by Farrell to stroll in by the posts in the 46th minute, and that was followed by a string of three penalties by the English captain.

(Continue reading below…)

Desperate to keep themselves in with a shout of an unlikely win late in the piece, a wild pass flung wide by the Australians deep inside their own half was picked off by speedster Anthony Watson, who scooted home to seal the result with four minutes to play.

The opportunistic try capped off a sensationally solid display of defensive persistence and clinical attack by the one-time world champions, with the likes of Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Sam Underhill and man-of-the-match Tom Curry all putting in workman-like performances on the opposite side of the ball.

Koroibete was the pick of the bunch for the Australians, impressing with his athleticism and aerial ability, while loose forwards David Pocock and Michael Hooper were industrious on defence.

However, their efforts weren’t enough to nullify the threat posed by the English, who now face a short wait to see who they will face in the semi-finals next week as New Zealand and Ireland prepare to do battle in Tokyo.

England 40 (Tries to Jonny May (2), Kyle Sinckler, Anthony Watson; 4 conversion and 4 penalties to Owen Farrell)

Australia 16 (Try to Marika Koroibete; conversion and 3 penalties to Christian Lealiifano)

DMWJ | Jim previews Ireland vs New Zealand:

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England dispatch Australia to qualify for World Cup semi-finals