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By Tom Fordyce
Chief sports author
It matters how you start a World Cup although maybe not as much as you finish it.
Eddie Jones has been profound in enough of these ding-dongs to realise , and his smile after the stuttering 35-3 win over Tonga on Sunday of England was that of a guy who understands that he has time and chance to find.
He will have to look for it after a performance that has been less of a fee on into the World Cup stage compared to a slightly apologetic stumble through the curtain.
You still feel like you’ve lost a little and can win matches against struggling teams like Tonga. Everyone expects success. Anticipate something extravagant when the opposition have lost six of their past seven games, including beats by Fiji, Japan and Samoa.
It does not have to issue. Only win. Get the bonus point. Keep everyone match, move on, step up this.
And yet…
Tonga were sending 14 attempts against New Zealand. While the contrast between tournament proper and a warm-up match isn’t completely true, the screen of the reigning champions in setting away the much challenge of South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday cast a shadow over all other pretenders to their throne.
Neither was the Jones grin a permanent fixture. After England had given away a needless penalty for offside following a restart when Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola attempted something unnecessarily funky, the huge screens at the corner of the Sapporo Dome showed a close-up of this Australian twice beating the table in front of him with mute fury.
When it was reminiscent of the second when among his inaugural, Martin Johnson, was caught nearly hitting a pit in his leg following a Danny Care transgression at Dublin a few years before, it illustrated too that the facial Jones shows to his players behind closed doors might not always be benevolent.
A World Cup campaign that fell apart rapidly following a unflattering introductory game, that time a one-try win over Argentina from Dunedin finished johnson reign as England coach.
Jones knows that, like Johnson, his period at the helm will be judged by what happens on the biggest point of all. You’re able to win the Six Nations and they can be lost by you. Fail at a World Cup and you go – since Johnson did in the aftermath of both 2011, since Stuart Lancaster did after the calamity of 2015.
Johnson’s regime ended jumping off a ferry into Auckland Creek, the final of many moments of scandal. Lancaster’s was arguably fatally holed if a combination of off-field indiscipline and familiar trauma denied him the chance to bring Tuilagi back to the fold, with all that happened later with Sam Burgess coming from his place and a settled back line being reshuffled to accommodate him.
So Jones will count himself fortunate he has Tuilagi not only back but looking both leaner and stronger than he has in the energy of some wrecking-ball, a low-slung bulldozer using all the acceleration of a sports car and also an England jersey.
The muscle was brought by tonga and they brought the mindset, just as everybody expected. Anthony Watson and ben Youngs were stopped as if they had run into concrete bollards. Vunipola, that goes backward as frequently as Johnson did as a player, was reversed at pace by the open-side flanker Zane Kapeli of Tonga.
Tuilagi shows obvious love for such fire. He also has the weaponry.
His first attempt arrived with a thump, a wrestler’s twist and two thumps. His second came when the Tongan defence was sucked in to his run and ended with a supporting line into the area.
Teams win world Cups but garlanded by players hitting their peak. It is possible to cruise through a number of the group point but the matches have been determined by moments and displays.
Tuilagi has ever had the potential to be a player like this and England will need him to be. In a group based around its constant program and power he is a point of difference with the bluntest of corners, its embodiment.
He might have experienced a hat-trick had replacement Henry Slade not shown a rustiness and taken the ball deep in the Tongan 22 on his left spare with his cantering . Slade along with Elliot Daly had exactly the same difficulty with ruthlessness when another opportunity opened up closer into the corner that was , among 14 tackling mistakes made by the men in white.
Jones was keen to point out afterwards that England have now played 160 moments of Test rugby without conceding a try, less to underline that those matches were against groups that couple expect to escape the group point in Japan was driven to one side.
England have time, with the spirited yet limited USA to emerge in Kobe on Thursday. You have the sense that a taskmaster, Jones, will relish the.
“Sometimes rugby’s like this,” he explained later. “You move with all the best intentions to be eloquent, you’ve got an image in mind that says you are likely to play some rugby and it does not end up like this.
“We weren’t sharp today, but what I really liked was the attitude of our own players. The great thing was we showed no shock.”
In public. The travel of england is now still underway. Now it requires to pick up speed and direction.

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