Rugby World Cup – England v USA: Patience required to see off stubborn Eagles, says George Ford
George Ford has warned England they must complete the grinding down process before looking to build a score against the USA in today’s World Cup encounter.
A feature of Japan 2019 has been the grit shown by tier two nations in holding out against their more established rivals, and Eddie Jones’s men have already experienced the determination of stubborn opposition.
A 35-3 victory over Tonga in Sapporo successfully opened the quest to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy but it was an underwhelming start as England laboured when confronted with the Islanders’ persistence.
Ford, who leads the team for the second Pool C encounter with Owen Farrell rested to the bench, insists patience is essential against the Eagles.
“It’s going to take some real good discipline and sticking to the plan to get the result we want,” said Ford.
“We need to put them under pressure and, hopefully, score a few points off the back of that.
“Like any Test, you’ve got to do the tough stuff first – in the first 15-20 minutes especially – to see where the rest of the game is going to go.”
England face the first true examination of their preparations for the humidity of Japan.
When the Pool C game kicks off, the temperature will be 25 degrees with a humidity of 78 per cent and they have already been given an indication of the condition during the eve-of--match captain’s run.
Jones has prepared for the conditions by undertaking two heat camps in Treviso during the summer and after overcoming Tonga in the less oppressive atmosphere of the Sapporo Dome, they are braced for a more aggressive climate.
“Ball control is an area we’ll look to improve on judging by running around out there just now,” said scrum-half Ben Youngs.
“It’s pretty humid and pretty slippery. It will be a good chance to test how well we’ve worked on that because training has been pretty minimal this week.”
Joe Launchbury, who will make his first appearance of Japan 2019 after being picked in the second-row alongside George Kruis, insists adjustments will have to be made against the USA.
“It’s more slippery than back home. Early on in the session it got pretty wet, the grass was getting greasy. For us, we’ll have to look to take the ball a little earlier,” said Launchbury.
“As a pack, we’ll probably have to catch the ball earlier rather than take it at the line.
“We really want to impress with our attack and keeping hold of the ball will be imperative to that, so we’ll need to adjust to these conditions pretty quick.”
England (11.45am): E Daly (Saracens); R McConnochie (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), P Francis (Northampton), J Cokanasiga (Bath); G Ford (Leicester, capt), W Heinz (Gloucester); J Marler (Harlequins), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), G Kruis (Saracens), T Curry (Sale), L Ludlam (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens). Replacements: J Singleton (Saracens), E Genge (Leicester), K Sinckler (Harlequins), C Lawes (Northampton), M Wilson (Newcastle/Sale), B Youngs (Leicester), O Farrell (Saracens), A Watson (Bath).
USA: Hooley; Scully (c), Brache, Lasike, Iosefo; MacGinty, Davies; Ainuu, Taufete’e, Lamositele, Landry, Civetta, Lamborn, Quill, Dolan. Replacements: Fawsitt, Kilifi, Mullen, Peterson, Germishuys, De Haas, Campbell, Te’o.
Uruguay pulled off the first shock of the Rugby World Cup with a 30-27 win over Fiji.
The South American minnows, who were playing their first game of the tournament, condemned the Pacific Islanders to their second defeat in five days to leave their Pool D qualification hopes in tatters.
The result was a fitting way to mark the opening of the new Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, which was built as a reminder to the people of the coastal fishing town which was almost wiped off the map by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
Prince Akishino, brother of the Japanese Emperor Naruhito, was in the 16,000-seater stadium to witness Uruguay’s first World Cup win since 2003.