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Coach Stuart Lancaster faces intriguing decisions for England

England 28 Samoa 9

By Duncan Bech

George Ford brought England's autumn to life with an impressive full debut as Samoa were swept aside at Twickenham to end the 2015 World Cup hosts' five-match losing run.

Ford - making his first start at fly-half with Owen Farrell switching to inside centre - rose to the occasion superbly, kicking with intelligence, offering a threat in attack and showing surprising resilience in the face of some brutal defence from the Pacific Islanders.

The 21-year-old kicked 13 points and played a key role in setting up a try for Mike Brown in a performance that demands his selection in the climax to the QBE Series against Australia next Saturday.

Stuart Lancaster now faces one of the most intriguing decisions of his reign as head coach with Farrell seemingly still stuck in a rut through lack of form, making little impact at 12 to give Kyle Eastmond the chance of a recall alongside his Bath team-mate, Ford.

Jonny May brought a sold out Twickenham to its feet for the second time in three games, following up his blistering try against New Zealand with another devastating burst of speed for the first of his two touchdowns.

The Samoans only scores were three penalties from Tusiata Pisi.

Victory was just the tonic England needed after the All Blacks and Springboks had stormed their fortress on successive weekends, but it was another flawed display with some recurring shortcomings still evident.

Once again they were guilty of failing to adapt to the conditions, overlooking their set-piece and forward strengths in an overly-ambitious gameplan that suited Samoa.

The last quarter meandered and alarm bells will be ringing at another drop in intensity.

The result may have been beyond doubt but England lost their way as they took their foot off Samoa's throats, although it was the result required to lift spirits before the visit of Australia, who share the same group at next year's World Cup.

Belfast Telegraph

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