England had a point to prove against Georgia
REACTION: After their emphatic 40-0 victory over Georgia, Eddie Jones was insistent that England had “settled a score” in their start to the Nations Cup.
In a one-sided clash which featured an astonishing 19 scrums England looked to take on the underdogs at the strongest component of their game and were rewarded with a comprehensive victory at the set-piece.
This performance avenged a particularly explosive training session held in February of 2019 at Oxford where the two packs came to blows during a live scrummaging session which had the coaches and backroom staff running onto the field to intervene.
“We always want to win the forwards battle, especially against Georgia,” said Jones, England’s head coach.
“All the guys remember the session against Georgia in Oxford. It was one of those things when you sit down and talk about scrummaging, Georgia comes to mind.”
“Even the backs got involved in that session. They ran from about 40 metres away to have a go, so we wanted to make a point against them that we won’t be stood over, and we did that.”
“They were always going to come at us through their scrum so we wanted to take them on there. We got a little bit of an edge there and were able to score enough points to win comfortably.”
Jonathan Joseph unfortunately injured his back just after setting up an Elliot Daly try with a well-executed pass and had to leave the field in obvious distress which was a pity as he’d been having a particularly productive afternoon up until that point.
Jones however is “cautiously optimistic” that he will be fit to face Ireland next weekend.
The hero of the day though turned out to be Jamie George after becoming the first England hooker ever to score a hat-trick of tries. Each one came as a result of a driving line-out which he finished off, but apart from that and Daly’s try there were few sparkling moments to talk about.
The rain in the second half certainly took its toll on the game but Georgia’s attack was pedestrian from the get-go and Jones conceded that the scoreline should have been even more emphatic.
“Georgia produced a challenge in the set-piece and our set-piece cohesion was absolutely outstanding,” he said.
“We probably would have liked to have been a bit sharper in terms of our execution with the ball we won. We probably left another 20 points out there but we’re pretty happy with the display.”
“The conditions were difficult and it’s something we can keep working on and improving.