England beat Australia 40-16 to make Rugby World Cup semi-finals
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By Tom Fordyce
Chief sports writer at Oita Stadium
England are to the World Cup semi-finals for the very first time in 12 years since they discharged old rivals Australia.
Two first-half tries in four minutes out of Jonny May on his 50th cap assisted establish a 17-9 half-time lead in front of a dramatic score out of Marika Koroibete brought the Wallabies to over some point.
But prop Kyle Sinckler smashed by Owen Farrells flat pass as England regained control, the fly-half landing 20 points along with his boot to crush Australian hopes before Anthony Watson applied the coup de grace with a late interception try.
It was the top performance of a World Cup of England when they have rarely been tested, the choice of coach Eddie Jones to start Farrell in place of George Ford vindicated by a seventh successive win over his home nation.
England were sent packing from the championship that they hosted with Michael Cheikas side.
But with the youthful back-row mixture of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill outstanding, this is sweet revenge, a last-four assembly New Zealand or Ireland in one weeks time the abundant reward.
Australia came out fast and battered away in the England defence, the guys in white pressured to 30 tackles in the first three minutes, Christian Lealiifanos punishment representing the premature balance of power.
But after England had double wasted overlaps in the opposition 22, they struck twice to stun the Wallabies.
First Farrell went left after Watson had made inroads down the best, and together with the defence extended before placing May Curry committed the guy.
Farrell with English parties ringing round the scene Australia handed another priceless gift and curled the conversion over from the touchline.
David Pocock threw a naturally loose pass in midfield, Henry Slade gathered, charged into space and kicked cleverly forward and May accumulated the bouncing ball to dip in the exact same little patch past the try-line.
After Slade strayed offside however Farrell popped to re-establish the 11-point guide about the 30, lealiifano brought back it into 14-6 with his second penalty.
And there was palpable relief among the gold-shirted support when a scrum penalty after a run from Samu Kerevi allowed Lealiifano to make it 17-9 in the interval.
Australia was down nine points to Fiji and 15 to Wales in the group stage before charging again, and within minutes of the restart theyd closed the gap to a single point.
Space was spotted by winger Reece Hodge and drove a long pass to 19-year-old Jordan Petaia, also Koroibete came quickening on his inside before departing Elliot Daly for dead.
England broke back immediately in similar fashion although it was a stunning try.
After a poor kick against the fighting Will Genia, England battered to within 25 metres before Farrells sweet apartment pass discovered Sinckler hammering through like a runaway dumper-truck for his first international try.
Farrell made it 27-16 following the scrum splintered of Australia after which the defence held firm on their own line despite repeated Wallaby prices before Farrell twisted with two penalties.
Together with Australia 17 points down and time exercising, Watson chose off Beales dire extended haul in pursuit of Hooper, and England could celebrate a first win in knock-out rugby since 2007.
England head coach Eddie Jones:They arrived back at us in the second half and that we needed to find ourselves. It was one of thosebring it around moments. We had to choose if we were going to stay at it go individual and I thought it was amazing.
Were really enthusiastic about the semi-final. We havent been in our best yet and that is the struggle to see how we could get to our finest.
England captain Owen Farrell:Australia made a brilliant game. They attacked during but that our boys was able to get some field position and did well in defence. We all know when we have field position we can be harmful
We did that which was required. We had the direct and everything were throwing at us. We wanted to play with the match at our pace and we did that in the second half.
England scrum-half Ben Youngs:We trapped in there, the first important point was midway in the second half on the line once we pushed them back, pushed down them.
We were probably going in 2nd gear in these very first few games, but we moved through the gears now.
England: Daly; Watson, Slade, Tuilagi, May; Farrell (capt), Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler; Itoje, Lawes; Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie Cole Ludlam Ford, Joseph.
Australia: Beale; Hodge, Petaia, Kerevi, Koroibete; Lealiifano, Genia; Alaalatoa, Latu, Sio; Arnold, Rodda; Naisarani, Hooper (capt), Pocock.
Replacements: Uelese Tupou Salakaia-Loto, White, Toomua, OConnor.
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