England fly-half George Ford, author of a surprisingly clear round against Argentina, showed his mettle on the second day of the Rugby World Cup, marked by Ireland’s full card and Australia’s quiet victory.
In Marseille, the English, on a losing streak for months, were reduced to 14 from the 3rd minute, trapping the Pumas (27-10) by relying on the infernal accuracy of their opening half, which scored all the points from XV of the Rose.
Favored by the rotating Marcus Smith to overcome Owen Farrell’s suspension, the experienced George Ford managed 100% footwork, slamming three drops in ten minutes, including two from poles over 40 meters (27th, 31st, 37th), and taking six penalties.
However, Ian Borthwick’s men at their expense opened up the “bunker”, a refereeing invention for this 9th edition of the World Cup, which allows the on-field referee to issue a yellow card to a player and ask the evaluators. That’s for sure. The third row cost Tom Curry.
But the Pumas, clumsy and undisciplined in their exchanges (only 13 penalties were awarded against England’s 7), fell from the top, unable to exploit their numerical advantage.
In Group C, Australia, another nation without hope, entered the World Cup after five defeats, unbeaten against the Georgians, perhaps hampered by Stade de France’s full standings (35-15).
Thanks to two tries from Ben Donaldson, another winger Mark Navakanitawas and a first from their center Jordan Petaya, the Wallabies grabbed the attacking bonus and topped a very similar Group D featuring Wales, Fiji and Portugal.
“After the first group match, five points are what we want. I believe we have five points,” said a delighted, beaming, Australian coach Eddie Jones, who returned to the helm earlier this year, twenty years after his first tenure (2001-2005) ended its heyday. . England in 2003.
In a World Cup final, the Irish have never gone beyond the quarter-finals. But the Glover XV, ranked N.1 in the world by World Rugby, hopes to break this glass ceiling.
In Group B featuring world champions South Africa, the Irish were unkind against Romania (82-8) and could rely on opener Jonathan Sexton’s performance six months after his last game.
At 38, the veteran, playing in his fourth and final World Cup, scored 24 points. He is just 9 points away from Ronan O’Gara’s World Cup points record in a green jersey.
At the beginning of the afternoon, France and New Zealand’s future opponent, Italy, has taken place against Namibia (52-8), which is still chasing its first victory in the World Cup. With seven tries and an attacking bonus point, the Azzurri have temporarily secured their place in Group A.
(Group A) Italy (Po) – Namibia 52 – 8
(Group B) Ireland (Po) – Romania 82 – 8
(Group C) Australia (Po) – Georgia 35 – 15
(Group D) England – Argentina 27 – 10
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