LONDON – England coach Eddie Jones was delighted with the way England followed their expansive game plan as they ripped Ireland apart in a record 57-15, eight-try Twickenham demolition job that sounded a warning to their World Cup rivals on Saturday.
After huffing and puffing their way to an uninspiring defeat in Wales last week, England cut loose with devastating effect, albeit against an abject Irish team.
"We went out to play a certain way and we did that – I was pleased with the intensity and purpose we played with," Jones said. "We adapted to the game a little bit on the run, the concentration level was pretty good and that’s what we’re looking for in these games. "It was pleasing to be able to move the ball a bit especially, after last week, which was a bit of an arm wrestle for 80 minutes. Today there was a bit of ball movement so it was a nice way to prepare for the World Cup."
That was an understatement as, after falling behind to an early try, England turned on the style through the forwards and backs.
The revived 10-12 combination of George Ford and Owen Farrell brought extra zip and vision, creating space for the wide men – led by two-try winger Joe Cokanasiga and rampant outside centre Manu Tuilagi.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) August 24, 2019
Jones’s other key experiment – playing twin opensides Tom Curry and Sam Underhill – also worked well as their speed at the breakdown was notable.
"It’s just another option and the reality is you need options, we are pleased the way it went," Jones said of the shuffled backline. "That’s the exciting thing. We want to be able play a number of different ways, with different personnel. The reality of the World Cup is – how many times are you going to have your best players available? You really don’t know.
"But we got good ball today, great set-piece ball. Maro Itoje and George Kruis are the guys responsible for the backs doing their flash things."
Of his "Kamikaze Kids" flanker pairing, Jones said: "It was positive, but it’s one game. Tom curry has really developed his ball carrying, which is very important for a six. We know Sam’s good around the ball and it freed Billy Vunipola up to get wider, use his offloading skills, which made our attack even more dangerous."
The only mark in the negative ledger for Jones was the sight of replacement prop Mako Vunipola limping off the pitch 17 minutes after coming on for his first appearance since suffering a bad hamstring injury in May.
"He got a bit of a twinge in his hamstring, it was more of a precaution to take him off," he said.
England have one more warm-up game, against Italy in Newcastle on Sept. 6, before departing for Japan.