Jones hails England’s Samurai spirit after calm heads secure semi-final spot

Eddie Jones hailed his players’ Samurai spirit following a record-equalling victory over Australia that saw them storm into the World Cup semi-finals.

England’s 40-16 win against the Wallabies at Oita Stadium was secured by four tries, including a double for wing Jonny May on his 50th cap, and 20 points from captain Owen Farrell.

The dominant display underlined England’s pedigree as possible World Cup winners.

“It was a do-or-die game today,” England head coach Jones said.

“And the best Samurai were always the guys who had a plan but could adapt, had a calm head but were full of aggression, and I thought we were like that today.

“The challenge is how we get better, because there is always a better Samurai around the corner.

“We want to keep challenging ourselves. How do we get better next week?”

England led only 17-16 early in the second-half, before scoring 23 unanswered points and leaving their opponents searching for answers.

England v Australia – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Quarter Final – Oita Stadium
Jonny May scores the first of his two tries during England’s 40-16 win over Australia in Oita.

Prop Kyle Sinckler and wing Anthony Watson followed May over the Wallabies try-line in one of England’s most efficient performances under Jones.

“He (Sinckler) found himself in an advanced attacking position (for his try) and got a great pass from Owen (Farrell) and then he was a runaway rhino,” Jones added.

“I’m really impressed by how hard he is working at improving his game.

“I thought (flankers) Tom Curry and Sam Underhill did very well, and the young fella Lewis Ludlam when he went on.

“The effort from Billy Vunipola was outstanding, absolutely outstanding. Maybe it helped having his wife here, so we have to make sure his wife stays next week!”

And on May, he said: “It is a great achievement to play 50 times for your country. There is probably not a more professional player than him.

“He showed what a good finisher he is. He just had a little bit of a twinge at the end, so we took him off, but he should be fine.”

England’s Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the quarter-final win over Australia
England’s Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the quarter-final win over Australia (David Davies/PA Images).

Farrell, meanwhile, praised his team’s response after Australia clawed the contest back to a one-point game.

“The boys were calm and in control, and we had clear messages about what we were going to do next,” said Farrell, who landed four penalties and four conversions.

“The lads ripped into that and we managed to get some points back straightaway.

“This was a good performance, but we don’t feel we are at our best yet.

“We are probably going to have to be better next week, so we are looking forward to working that out.”

That was special from the boys. Onto next week 👊🏾🌹#RWC2019#TootingTrainpic.twitter.com/cjLQLEa3ca

— Kyle Sinckler (@KyleSinckler) October 19, 2019

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika was non-committal about his future in the job after seeing England post an emphatic triumph.

“I am being honest, it’s a cruel world when you are being asked those questions two minutes after being knocked out of a World Cup,” he said.

“If you could find some compassion. Perhaps whatever your news outlet is, just think about people’s feelings, just chill.

“They (England) played very well, very well organised defensively. They have obviously got a certain way they play the game.

“An exit is an exit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a final or a quarter-final. The opponent is irrelevant.

“For all the carry on, we are just going out to compete – it’s painful either way.”

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