England punish Georgia in one-sided affair
MATCH REPORT: Jamie George scored a hat-trick as England record a 40-0 win over Georgia at Twickenham on Saturday.
George became the first English hooker to notch a Test treble and all three of his scores were almost identical, as he steered a driving maul over the whitewash following a lineout.
Jack Willis had gone over for the first try on debut, Elliott Daly crossed after a nice backs move and replacement scrumhalf Dan Robson rounded off the scoring in a six-try display.
This was the first time England have faced Georgia outside of a World Cup and their record now reads three victories from three contests but the Lelos showed plenty of heart and desire, especially in defence, and will look to build on that against Wales next week.
England’s Round 2 game against Ireland could be decisive in deciding the outcome of Group A and there are plenty of positives for Eddie Jones to take into that contest.
*As it happened: England v Georgia
Fresh off a record seventh Six Nations title, England made the early running at Twickenham as they set up camp in the Georgia 22 – Willis almost went over for a debut try inside seven minutes and while the visitors were pinned back against their own line, they remarkably held firm until the 15th minute.
Repeated five-metre scrums wore down the Georgian pack and England eventually ran a couple of phases off the back before popping the ball to Willis to power his way over from close range, with a little help from Joe Launchbury.
Georgia earned their first attacking platform of the match shortly after that try as they probed around the edge of England’s 22 but Willis showed the incredible jackalling ability that earned him an international call-up to win possession back for the hosts.
Despite dominating territory and possession, a lack of precision – combined with valiant Georgian defending – meant it took until 30 minutes for England to get a second try, which they did when an inexorable driving maul ended with George flopping over the line.
A third try came shortly after as the England pack drove George over for his second of the game and the bonus point was secured just before the break when the hosts’ back-line stretched their legs for the first time.
Jonathan Joseph darted through a gap in the defensive line after a great dummy run by Ollie Lawrence, then drew the last man and fed Daly for the run-in, with Owen Farrell’s three conversions making it 26-0 at half-time
In setting up that try, Joseph was forced off through injury and it took England almost half of the second half before they added to their tally but they did, as George grabbed a carbon-copy of his first two tries by dotting down from the back of a driving maul off a lineout.
The 30-year-old made history as the first English hooker to score a Test hat-trick and was replaced by Tom Dunn shortly after his third score with a job well done.
Try number six came from another replacement – scrum-half Robson sniping over from the base of a ruck – but to the Lelos’ credit they held firm after that to limit the deficit to just six tries, although they were unable to notch any points of their own.
The victory also extends England’s remarkable Twickenham record as they have now triumphed in 26 of their last 29 home matches.
Man of the match: He will be the first to acknowledge that his tries came from the hard work of the pack as a whole but Jamie George earned player of the match honours with his history-making hat-trick. The hooker put in a shift for the 64 minutes that he was on the pitch, ensuring home dominance at the set-piece, and his tries were just reward for that effort.
Moment of the match: Georgia had frustrated England with some resilient defending, while the hosts had also been guilty of some imprecision costing them further points, which meant the score was only 7-0 as the half-hour mark approached. But with the Lelos pack having been ground down, the floodgates finally opened for England, sparked by Jamie George’s first try. The hooker produced an accurate lineout throw and the driving maul marched inexorably towards the line before George touched down off the back to break the visitors’ resistance.
Villain of the match: Georgia’s non-existent backline and lack of vision on the attack.
Tries: Willis, George 3, Daly, Robson
Cons: Farrell 5
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonathan Joseph, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Ben Earl, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Max Malins, 23 Joe Marchant
Georgia: 15 Lasha Khmaladze, 14 Akari Tabutsadze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Sandro Svanidze, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Gela Aprasidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 6 Beka Saginadze, 5 Grigor Kerdikoshvili, 4 Lasha Jaiani, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Lekso Kaulashvili, 19 Otor Giorgadze, 20 Tornike Jalagonia, 21 Vasil Lobzhandidze, 22 Demur Tapladze, 23 Aleksandre Todua.
Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant referees: Craig Evans, Dan Jones
TMO: Ben Whitehouse
Source: @AutumnNations & @Rugby365com