The follow match highlights are courtesy of World Rugby.
England began their World Cup campaign with an unconvincing performance as they struggled to a 35-3 bonus-point triumph over Tonga in Sapporo.
It was a tight opening from both teams as Owen Farrell and Sonatane Takulua traded penalties but the Red Rose moved away before the break as Manu Tuilagi touched down twice.
Farrell then added his second three-pointer for an 18-3 advantage at the interval before Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie completed a mistake-ridden win in the second half.
Eddie Jones’ men have been quick starters this year but they were met by a resilient and physical Tongan outfit. The Six Nations outfit did take the lead via a Farrell penalty but their opponents responded superbly with sheer brute force.
Billy Vunipola, whose father Feʻao captained ‘Ikale Tahi at the 1999 global tournament, was hammered by Zane Kapeli with his first carry and that led to a penalty. Takulua was on target and Toutai Kefu’s charges deservedly levelled matters going into the second quarter.
The Tongans’ defence was beginning to show signs of breaking, however, and Tuilagi almost set-up England’s first try as he broke through and fed Sam Underhill.
Although the flanker was held up, the Red Rose’s Samoan-born centre was rewarded for his earlier surge by receiving the ball five metres and charging his way over.
Following that score, England opened up and touched down for the second time when Jonny May scampered down the left and found Tuilagi, who crossed the whitewash unopposed.
Jones’ side were now well on top and, after a period of pressure on the Tonga line, Farrell added his second three-pointer for a 15-point buffer at the interval.
They then controlled the early stages of the second period and earned a penalty, allowing the Saracens playmaker to extend their lead, but there were too many errors. England regularly dropped the ball and it left a tiring Ikale Tahi off the hook.
As a result of their loose play, several replacements were made and it immediately paid dividends as a dominant maul powered towards the line and George was the beneficiary of his team-mates’ good work.
It didn’t truly have the desired effect, though, with the Six Nations side incredibly slack and that kept the scoreboard down. Credit must also go to Tonga, who were spirited and prevented England from gaining momentum, but it was a poor display by Jones’ men.
The Red Rose did manage to gain the crucial bonus-point when Jonathan Joseph broke through and fed Cowan-Dickie to finish, but they will need a vast improvement over the coming weeks.
Rugby World Cup Pool C
Match #7 – FULL TIME
ENGLAND 🏴 3️⃣5️⃣ – 0️⃣3️⃣ 🇹🇴 TONGA
ENGLAND – 3️⃣5️⃣
Tries: Manu Tuilagi (23′,30′), Jamie George (56′), Luke Cowan-Dickie (76′)
Conversions: Owen Farrell (32′,57′,77′)
Penalties: Owen Farrell (11′,36′,42′)
TONGA – 0️⃣3️⃣
Penalty: Tane Takulua (15′)
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RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
ENG (on 88.13 points) -vs- TON (on 71.04 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If ENG win by 1-15 points||0.000||88.13||71.04||No|
|ENG win by more than 15||0.000||88.13||71.04||No|
|If result is a draw||2.000||86.13||73.04||No|
|If TON win by 1-15 points||4.000||84.13||75.04||No|
|If TON win by more than 15||6.000||82.13||77.04||No|
1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Billy Vunipola, 9 Ben Youngs, 10 George Ford, 11 Jonny May, 12 Owen Farrell (capt.), 13 Manu Tuilagi, 14 Anthony Watson, 15 Elliot Daly
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph
1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 2 Sefo Sakalia, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 4 Sam Lousi, 5 Leva Fifita, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Zane Kapeli, 8 Ma’ama Vaipulu, 9 Tane Takulua, 10 Kurt Morath, 11 Viliami Lolohea, 12 Cooper Vuna, 13 Siale Piutau (capt.), 14 Afa Pakalani, 15 David Halaifonua
Replacements: 16 Siua Maile, 17 Latu Talakai, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 James Faiva, 23 Nafi Tu’itavake
Date: Sunday, September 22
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistants: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Broadcasts: ESPN 3 (Latin/South America), NBCSN (USA), TSN 1/3 (Canada)