England finish on a positive note

Date published: October 10 2015

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England bowed out of the Rugby World Cup with a 60-3 win as they saw off another spirited performance from Uruguay at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Nick Easter was the man of the match after scoring a hat-trick of tries, becoming the oldest player to achieve such a feat in international history.

But once again there were areas of frustration for England's supporters as they only led 21-3 at the break, with Uruguay staying well in touch.

After the break there was an improvement from Stuart Lancaster's men and only the RFU will know if it's enough to save his job.

England's other try-scorers were Anthony Watson (2), Jack Nowell (3), Henry Slade and a penalty try as they ran away with the game in the second half.

Following the high-octane and bruising events at England's home, Twickenham, between Australia and Wales, the term 'damp squib' came to mind at the City of Manchester Stadium as Lancaster's tenure as nation head coach once again went under the spotlight. Only a big win would do.

It didn't start as he would have liked as not one minute in, England's forwards were offside from a clearing kick and Felipe Berchesi made it 0-3. To make matters worse a dumb play from hooker Tom Youngs, where he performed a neck roll on a Uruguayan player, halted England's first attack.

England did get a slice of luck in the eighth minute as ball moved wide left led to Nowell kicking through for Watson to finish superbly. However, that luck refers to the television match official not checking whether Watson was in front of his wing, which he looked to have been.

There were no doubts about England's second try though as they reverted to their close game, with Easter at the tail of a maul that looked like causing Uruguay plenty of bother for the remaining hour. Farrell, again, successfully sent over the conversion to extend the scoreline to 14-3.

Easter was over again five minutes later, this time from a pick and go one metre out, as England moved into a 21-3 lead. Unbelievably all the pre-game talk about the future was overshadowed by England's oldest player taking the early headlines. All the young backs could do was watch.

It was a second quarter to forget as errors that have blighted England's pool campaign resurfaced, with cohesion in attack seeing them fail to trouble the scoreboard for the rest of the half. One small positive was that Uruguay captain Santiago Vilaseca was yellow-carded on 40 minutes.

Fortunately for those representing England's north in the stadium, they would only have to wait two minutes for the game's fourth score and it arrived from a set play off the back of a scrum fifteen metres out. Danny Care started it before Watson had the easy finish wide out for 26-3.

The spark of life to ignite what had been a disappointing game thus far for England? It turned out to be another false dawn as knock-ons from first captain Chris Robshaw and then James Haskell foiled attacks in Uruguay's red zone. The South Americans escaped courtesy of the blunders.

But cometh the hour, cometh a young player who England in all honesty should have backed a long time ago in the international arena, as Slade charged down Agustín Ormaechea's box kick on halfway before showing good footballing skills to dribble all the way to the score. It was 31-3.

Cue the floodgates and England's sixth try which came down the same left touchline Slade had just ran. This time it was Alex Goode sparking an attack before Care held the final pass until the perfect time for Nowell to finish off. This time Farrell slotted the extras to make it 38-3.

England were looking to turn the screw and end their World Cup campaign on a high note. Once again they went back to the line-out drive which served them so well in the first-half and once again it was Easter getting the try, his hat-trick. This after Jonathan Joseph replaced Farrell.

Another player set to be hunting his treble was Nowell as he was put over thanks to a beautiful pass from Ford on 70 minutes that made it 48-3. And he wouldn't have to wait long for that moment as this time Slade sent over the Exeter Chief as England led 53-3 with four minutes to play.

Uruguay attempted to finish with the last say but that went the way of England via a penalty try after a lovely break-out from their own 22, with referee Chris Pollock adjudging the visitors to have jumped offside on their own line. Ford, for the first time, added the two points as England made it a ten-try showing.

Man of the match: It has to go to the veteran Nick Easter. What a way to prove that age should not be a barrier in the game. Some may say he should he have been picked from the outset but he will be delighted with how he performed in what is likely to be his Test swansong.

Moment of the match: After the end of the match, the majority of the crowd remained in their seats to applaud the England team and sing Swing Low. That will help a hurting group of players.

Villain of the match: A clean game. No problems.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Watson 2, Easter 3, Slade, Nowell 3, Penalty try
Cons: Farrell 4, Ford

For Uruguay:
Pen: Berchesi
Yellow: Vilaseca (slowing down ball – 40 mins)

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 James Haskell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 David Wilson, 19 George Kruis, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Mike Brown.

Uruguay: 15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Santiago Gibernau, 13 Joaquin Prada, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Rodrigo Silva, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 9 Agustín Ormaechea, 8 Alejandro Nieto, 7 Matias Beer, 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara, 5 Jorge Zerbino, 4 Santiago Vilaseca (c), 3 Mario Sagario, 2 Carlos Arboleya, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti.
Replacements: 16 Nicolas Klappenbach, 17 Oscar Duran, 18 Alejo Corral, 19 Mathias Palomeque, 20 Diego Magnol, 21 Agustín Alonso, 22 Alejo Durán, 23 Manuel Blengio.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

by Adam Kyriacou at Manchester City Stadium

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