ENGLAND’S dynamic duo lit up Lille as they crushed Chile with an 11-try romp.
A masterclass from full-back by Marcus Smith and record-equalling five touchdowns by winger Henry Arundell were exhilarating proof that the Red Rose side is not just a kicking machine.
Henry Arundell led England’s romp with five tries[/caption]
Makeshift full-back Marcus Smith can’t resist a broad smile as he dives over for England fifth try against battling Chile[/caption]
Arundell spearheaded an ultimately-easy victory[/caption]
Smith’s glorious solo effort on half-time was the pick of the bunch as England’s red-hot Chile poppers crushed the outgunned South Americans into the dirt.
It was a try that will be remembered, a little high-speed step outside, a grubber behind the retreating defence and then switching on the after-burners to judge the bouncing ball and score with a huge smile on his face.
But if England need a predatory finisher, then Arundell, still just 20, showed he is exactly that as he was in the right place at the right time and again.
Only Josh Lewsey, back in 2003 in the dismantling of Uruguay, has ever scored five World Cup tries for England record in a single game – and Arundell accomplished his handful in the space of just 49 minutes.
All that attacking flourish will leave coach Steve Borthwick with a selection headache that can only end with some shaking their heads.
The suspicion remains that it will be horses for courses, that Freddie Steward’s bulk and physicality offers more defensive certainty than Smith, that Elliot Daly will be stationed on the right.
Yet Smith and Arundell, in particular, could not have done more to argue that adventure and excitement should also be brought into the equation.
And nobody can now say England are all about Plan A and the boot, even if Owen Farrell kicked 16 points to end the match just one short of Jonny Wilkinson’s Red Rose record.
Yes, Chile were, as they were supposed to be, little more than crash test dummies for England to run through.
Borthwick’s side, as was clear from the opening 20 minutes in which their ambition to throw the ball around was not matched by their execution, remain a work in progress – and with much tougher tasks looming on the horizon next month.
Fumbles by Max Malins and Danny Care were followed by Jack Willis getting held up over the line as Borthwick’s side sought for the clinical edge they had promised.
But once doing the simple things well saw returning skipper Farrell’s long pass from a central scrum give Arundell all the time in the world to score in the corner, the switch was flicked.
One became two almost instantly, an eight-man drive from a line-out proving an unstoppable force, with Theo Dan the beneficiary as he fell over the line for his first international try.
It was now the mismatch it had threatened to be before the start, Chile having few legal means of stopping the white wall that washed over them.
The third try soon followed, Farrell taking a quick penalty and Dan the man to loop another easy assist for Arundell to accept.
And the bonus point was confirmed five minutes before the interval as England stepped through the gears and showed the imagination the fans had been hoping to see.
Team-mates help Marcus Smith rejoice as he leads England’s romp[/caption]
Danny Care enjoys England’s triumph[/caption]
Smith started it on the right wing, the ball was swiftly on the other touchline and while George Martin was held up just short, prop Bevan Rodd ploughed over, also breaking his England duck.
Mission accomplished. The rest was always going to be window dressing.
Smith’s glorious fifth, sprinting into the line at pace, placing the little dribbler kick into a hole and annihilating the Chilean cover to gather it himself and pop over made that window look very pretty indeed.
Borthwick and his players could not have wanted a better response to that off-beam opening and Chile must have feared humiliation.
The sixth try came soon after the restart, another line-out drive ending with Dan doubling his England points tally.
Arundell’s hat-trick try came from the next attack, Daly’s kick in behind falling into the winger’s arms for another easy score.
That brought the first sighting of three nominal fly-halves simultaneously on the pitch, with George Ford replacing Daly and Farrell switching to inside centre.
Arundell then made it four tries in the space of 40 minutes, winning the race to his own chip and chase.
And when Smith burst into the line once again, Arundell could not believe his luck as he sauntered over to complete his famous five.
Chile were gagging for the final whistle but there was more pain to come, with Smith, deservedly, and Willis cashing in on the tiring legs, Farrell making it eight from 11 with the final kick.
The 10 days back in Le Touquet before Samoa back here in a fortnight will be time to reflect and plan ahead. But now we know – England can play.
September 23, 2023 at 10:59PM
from The Sun