Rugby World Cup 2003
England sound out warning with win over Georgia
Graham Jenkins at the Subiaco Oval, Perth
October 12, 2003
Matt Dawson scrmables over to score
© Getty Images
England racked up the biggest score so far in this year's tournament as they cruised to a 84-6 win over Georgia at the Subiaco Oval, Perth. Clive Woodward's side ran in 12 tries to consolidate their favouritism for the William Webb Ellis trophy and condemn the plucky Georgians on their World Cup debut.
A vociferous crowd of around 25,000, a massive 9,000 more than watched the Springboks opening victory here last night, made their presence felt despite the miserable conditions when the sides entered the Oval. The Georgians, dressed fittingly in black, looked like they knew what was ahead of them. But to their credit they began the game full of spirit.
England took their time to get into their stride which could be explained away with a combination of nerves and the slippery ball and their failure to click early on saw Jonny Wilkinson opt to shoot for three in the opening minutes - much to the crowd's disbelief.
His successful kick did little to settle his sides nerves and the Georgians did the unbelievable shortly after when they drew level courtesy of the boot of Malkhaz Urjukashvili. England began to stutter into life but were still shaking off the rust as chips through and a cross kick were over done. They eventually grabbed the opening try on the quarter hour when Wilkinson decided to straighten things up inside the 22 before offloading to Tindall who showed good strength to go over. Wilkinson was soon picking up his tee with another two Test points to his name.
Scrum-half Matt Dawson was the next to grab a five pointer. He showed South African scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen that two can play his game as he burrowed over from a metre out. Once again Wilkinson added the extras.
Then up stepped the England pack to conjure the next try. Lock Ben Kay produced the line break, Neil Back was there in support before hooker Steve Thompson got on the end to dot down. Notch another conversion for the kicking machine that is Wilkinson.
England were steadily shifting through the gears and their forward domination prssurised the Georgian scrum into a mistake on their own line and Back was there to poiunce on the loose ball. Need I say Wilkinson converted?
Prop Trevor Woodman then went close for England but a timely Georgian boot dislodged the ball from his grasp as he looked to touch down under the posts. England's first major changes soon followed with Mike Tindall and Matt Dawson making way for Dan Luger and Andy Gommarsall respectively.
Georgia rallied and shoved the England pack at a scrum just before half-time but their indiscpline soon let them down again and Wilkinson setn England into thebreak 34-3 to the good with the final kick of the half.
The Georgians may have been glad of their break but there was no let up from England on their return to the field. First it was Lawrence Dallaglio who claimed the try as the England pack marched over the line and Wilkinson converted before making way for Paul Grayson. His job done, Woodward as expected choosing to wrap his star flyhalf in cotton wool ahead of the Springboks clash next weekend.
More scores were always going to come, and Will Greenwood obliged, getting on the end of another sweeping move to dive in at the corner. Grayson could not extend England's success with the boot.
More changes followed for England as Richard Hill and Phil Vickery made way for Jason Leonard and Lewis Moody but it did little to upset England's rhythm.
Another sweeping move saw the hugely influential Greenwood create the opening for replacement hooker Mark Regan to score, this time Grayson converted.
England were penalised from the re-start and the Georgians didn't hesitate in opting for another shot at three against their mighty opponents. Paliko Jimsheladze slotted it over.
The Georgians maintained their work rate and refused to roll over producing a try saving tackle when Cohen looked sure to race away. But moments later when Grayson finally had his eye in he found Cohen with a cross kick and the wing shrugged of the covering tackle to score in the corner. Grayson slotted the extras.
A few minutes later Cohen was over again this time popping up in the opposite corner. This time pace was the key with Lewsey breaking the line before setting up Cohen for the score. England ocntinued to pepper the Georgian line but they continued to tackle with plenty of heart but there was more left in England.
Greenwood was soon celebrating again and then it was Jason Robinson breachin ght etry line. Grayson converted on both occasions. As the Georgians finally began to tire it was Dan Luger who grabbed the final score that this time Grayson could not convert.
The stats echoed what any observer could have told you that this was one way traffic. Georgia made an incredible 194 tackles opposed to England's 41 and the 77% of possession and territory that Clive Woodward's side ended with will have all their rivals for the World Cup crown reaching for their drawing boards.
Referee: P. De Luca (Arg)