England Autumn Internationals Review

England made it three wins from three Tests to finish their autumn campaign with a clean sweep of victories over Argentina, Australia and Samoa.

England began the series with a decidedly rusty opening game against Argentina, with both Fijian born Nathan Hughes and Semesa Rokoduguni offering up the only England tries of the game, giving England some much needed breathing space as the game progressed.

Mako Vunipola was a glimmer of light in an otherwise scrappy game, being named Man of the Match after making 19 tackles in his 67 minutes, with strong carries and a few well-timed passes. Eddie Jones was vocal about his frustrations, but conceded that the team hadn’t played a game together since March.

The fifth successive victory over Australia was the highlight of the series, with England emerging 30-6 winners against the Wallabies. The game got away from Australia after a decisive try from Elliot Daly following the TMO decision that the ball remained in play after skirting the edge of the touchline by a hairsbreadth. Soon after the Wallabies defence fell apart and late tries from Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May and Danny Care finally took the game out of their reach.

2017 was a year to be dedicated to developing the squad, bringing in new blood and creating more depth to the team, with Eddie Jones keen on creating a competitive environment for each and every shirt.  This was most evident in the final game of the series, where England faced Samoa, with many fresh faces coming into the side.

Hooker Jamie George made his first start, giving an impressive performance and providing a well-timed assist for Saracens team mate Lozowski early in the game. Elsewhere, Sam Simmonds, in place of an injured Nathan Hughes, showed off some of the strength and agility we’ve come to expect from the Exeter number eight.

England veterans Mike Brown and Elliot Daly cemented their place in the England line-up, earning a try a piece against the Samoans, with Charlie Ewels, Henry Slade and Rokoduguni also making it over the line, as fly-half George Ford added 13 points with the boot.

Although England undoubtedly put up a strong performance, ever the perfectionist Eddie Jones knows there is much more for the squad to work on as we lead up to the World Cup in 2019.

In response to his team’s performance against Samoa, Jones said; “It was a muddling performance, we started well but got seduced by the perceived easiness of the match and stopped doing the small things well and got pulled back before finishing it off. “We've got a hell of a lot of work to do. We don't consistently do the small things well but we've got two years to put that right.”

Still with 22 victories from 23 tests under Jones, England have a lot to be proud of and all eyes will be on the upcoming Six Nations where England hope to make history with three consecutive title wins.


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