Owen Farrell Rugby World Cup 2019: England battle to bonus-point victory over Tonga – but there is work to do

    Owen Farrell Rugby World Cup 2019: England battle to bonus-point victory over Tonga – but there is work to do

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    Eddie Jones insisted before the Rugby World Cup that England do not need to be at their best until 2 November, which should come as a relief to his players after their run-of-the-mill 35-3 victory over Tonga.

    The score fails to reflect the tameness of England four-try victory. They ground things out rather than lighting up the Sapporo Dome.

    The display will be of no importance if England go on and reclaim the Webb Ellis Cup in six weeks’ time, but it has to be said the chariot spluttered into life on Sunday. And with Argentina and France looming on the horizon to decide who ultimately emerges from Pool C, England will need to show a big improvement in this tournament.

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    Owen Farrell and Sonatane Takulua traded early penalties in what proved a fairly low-key start, but the match was brought to life with a bone-crunching rattle when flanker Zane Kapeli levelled Billy Vunipola like we’ve never seen before. But it did not take long for England to wrestle control of the match.

    It has been a long time since Tuilagi scored in a World Cup: just two days short of eight injury-ravaged years since he crossed the line against Romania in Dunedin. But his return to international rugby has given England something special that they have lacked for far too long.

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