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England V Tonga: What Happened?

November 10, 2021

England emphatically started their autumn international campaign with a comprehensive 69-3 win against heavy hitting Tonga. Before we get into the details of what went down at the Home of England Rugby, we just want to say how great it was to have a full capacity crowd again at Twickenham Stadium. Seeing 82,000 fans singing, smiling, and cheering for the first time since March 2020 was electric!

 

So, let’s not waste time and look at what happened. 

 

Coming off a 60-14 drubbing by Scotland the week before, Tonga were hoping for better things. However, some ill-discipline and poor defending led to another dismal defeat. 

 

England celebrating a try

England were without captain Owen Farrell due to returning a positive Covid-19 test however, that didn’t stop them from making a blistering start. England scored 5 tries in an action packed first half, courtesy of Adam Radwan, Jonny May, Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs and England’s powerhouse prop Jamie George. Ben Youngs, who received his 110th cap for England, started the second half how he ended the first – scoring a try. Finally, the man everyone wanted to start, Marcus Smith, was introduced to the Twickenham crowd. The fly-half exploited some poor defending by scoring a try and playing his part in creating tries for both Jamie Blamire and Alex Mitchell in an entertaining second half.  

 

Man of the Match and chief creator in England’s midfield was Henry Slade, beating 5 defenders from his 8 carries totalling 71 metres. Marcus Smith also stood out after a fantastic second half cameo by scoring a try and converting 5. 

 

As we look ahead to Australia, the one question on everyone’s mind is how Eddie Jones can fit his captain Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith in the same team. The question on our mind however is if he can, will the balance of the team be right? Many think Smith should start at 10, that then leaves a battle between Farrell and Slade for the number 12 shirt. At the time of writing, Joe Marler will miss out due to a positive Covid-19 test. So, that means either Trevor Davison or Bevan Rodd will take Marler’s place in the match-day squad as loosehead prop. 

 

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