London - Joe
Cokanasiga scored twice as England laid down a warning to their Rugby
World Cup rivals with an astonishing 57-15 trouncing of Ireland at
Twickenham on Saturday.
England ran in eight tries in all - man of the match Manu Tuilagi
getting one of them - as they recorded both their highest score and
largest winning margin over their opponents.
For Ireland, who won the Six Nations Grand Slam and beat New Zealand
last year, it was a bitter reality check in a game they had hopes of
becoming world number one.
"That is not up to the standard that we set ourselves. It is hard to
describe it without using a lot of profanity," Ireland captain Rory Best
told broadcasters Sky Sports.
"We are nowhere near where we need to be, the only upside is that it is the middle of August and not the middle of September."
England skipper Owen Farrell laid down a marker for his side to improve even further after the record victory.
"It was definitely fun. I love it every time I put this jersey on. We are building," Farrell said.
"The most exciting thing is that we have our best rugby ahead of us."
Both sides came roaring out of the blocks in the baking heat with
Farrell landing the first blow with a penalty in the seventh minute.
The visitors struck back as Rob Kearney's superb long pass found
Jacob Stockdale as the Ulster winger touched down for his fifth Test
Ross Byrne, making his maiden start at fly-half, showed no nerves as he converted from wide out on the left for 7-3.
For all Jordan Larmour's style in attack, his Achilles heel is his
defence and he was left grasping at air as he tried to tackle
Cokanasiga, who brushed him aside to touch down in the 13th minute --
Tuilagi's decoy run having sucked in the Irish defence.
Farrell failed to convert but England had their noses in front at 8-7.
Byrne, who is vying to be on the plane to Japan to back up the
injured Joey Carbery and number one Johnny Sexton, slotted over an
excellent penalty to give the Irish a 10-8 lead.
Tuilagi once again caused panic in the
Irish defence and Stockdale repeated an error from the first try in
coming on off his wing and Tom Curry fed Elliot Daly who ran in to touch
Tuilagi did not bother setting anyone up for the third try going on
his own paying little notice to Stockdale's effort at a tackle as
Farrell added the extras.
Ireland's problems deepened shortly before half-time as veteran prop Cian Healy limped off.
The Irish began the second-half also without Conor Murray who had
taken a knock to the head in the first-half from Jonny May's shoulder
and had briefly returned after passing a Head Injury Assessment.
Five minutes after the break Ireland lost a line-out and ended with
Maro Itoje bursting through the middle, to score under the posts.
Tuilagi caused more havoc in the Irish defence setting up George Kruis to go over for a try which Farrell converted for 36-10.
The hosts crossed the 50-point mark with a quarter of an hour to play.
Flanker Curry crossed before Cokanasiga added his second after 66 minutes with Farrell adding the two points.
Bundee Aki had a rough day defending Tuilagi but once the latter had
gone off he gained a little consolation in breaking through from outside
the 22, fending off Daly to touch down.
Luke Cowan-Dickie rounded off Irish misery with another try - George Ford converting.
Tries: Joe Cokanasiga (2), Elliot Daly, Manu Tuilagi, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Luke Cowan-Dickie
Conversions: Owen Farrell (6), George Ford
Tries: Jordan Larmour, Bundee Aki
Conversion: Ross Byrne
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Joe Marchant
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Jean Kleyn, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy
Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Tadhg Beirne, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Andrew Conway