London - George Ford impressed on his first Test start as England returned to winning
ways with a 28-9 victory over Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Bath flyhalf kicked five out of seven goalkicks for a haul of 13 points in this night kick-off match.
More significantly, Ford was also instrumental in creating two of England's three tries, with wing Jonny May scoring twice.
defeats by the All Blacks (24-21) and the Springboks (31-28) had turned
this match into a 'must-win' fixture for 2015 World Cup hosts England,
who kicked off on a run of five straight losses, albeit four had been
against world champions New Zealand.
"It feels good to get a win and it has been a long time," England coach Stuart Lancaster told Sky Sports.
Ford added: "There was some OK stuff from me out there today, but there's a lot I need to improve on still."
had called off a threatened strike in protest at the conduct of the
Samoa Rugby Union, which would have seen them boycott this match, only
after being told they risked losing their place at next year's World
The Pacific Islanders, still yet to beat England, scored all their points courtesy of three penalties from flyhalf Tusi Pisi.
"We learned a lot from this game," said Samoa captain David Lemi.
think the scoreboard reflected our discipline and I'm really proud of
the effort the boys put in today," added the wing, who plays his club
rugby for English second-tier side Bristol.
Lancaster made five
changes and a positional switch to the team beaten 31-28 by South Africa
last weekend, calling up Ford, whose previous four caps had come from
off the bench, and moving the No 10's old school friend and former youth
rugby colleague Owen Farrell from fly-half to inside centre.
Pisi kicked Samoa into an early lead before Ford equalised for England, playing in unfamiliar red shirts, in the 16th minute.
Four minutes later Ford demonstrated the skill England have often lacked among their backs by creating the opening try.
'loop' move with May saw England make ground before fullback Mike Brown
joined the line to send May, who slid in on a rain-swept pitch, for a
score by the posts.
It took several minutes for South African
referee Jaco Peyper to confirm the try as he consulted with the
television match official before deciding Brown's pass to May had not
Ford converted and England led 10-3 before Pisi reduced the deficit.
England, however, were dominant at the scrum and a set-piece penalty saw them extend their lead to 13-6.
good work from Ford almost led to a second England try in the 32nd
minute but, as happened in their defeat by the All Blacks a fortnight
ago, Brown was unable to hold what might have been a scoring pass.
missed a long-range penalty on the stroke of half-time but made no
mistake in the opening minute of the second period as he edged England
further in front.
Then Ford's sublime cross-kick out to the right
wing was regathered by Bath team-mate Anthony Watson, who passed inside
to Brown for a fine try.
England's new stand-off converted and the hosts led 23-6 before Pisi landed another penalty.
was involved again when tackled high by Johnny Leota in the 51st
minute, with the Samoa centre sent to the sin-bin as a result by Peyper.
No sooner had Samoa been reduced to 14 men then England had their third try and May his second.
won a line-out and good handling by skipper Chris Robshaw and fellow
forwards Joe Marler and David Attwood led to Brown sending May in on the
overlap out wide.
Ford missed the difficult conversion but, at 28-9, England all but had the game won in front of a crowd of more than 82,000.
Amid a welter of replacements, England lost cohesion -- with lock Attwood knocking on to scupper a try just yards out.
After full-time England joined the Samoans traditional post-match prayer circle.
know better than anyone that a sterner test awaits when they face World
Cup pool rivals Australia, smarting from their 26-23 defeat by Ireland
in Dublin earlier on Saturday, in their November finale at Twickenham
15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler
Substitutes: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 George Kruis, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Marland Yarde
15 Ken Pisi, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Substitutes: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Fa'atiga Lemalu, 20 Dan Leo, 21 TJ Ioane, 22 Pete Cowley, 23 Mike Stanley