Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

England battle to victory

Chris Ashton
Chris Ashton

England withstood a spirited Georgian assault to secure their second victory of the Rugby World Cup with a 41-10 win.

Shontayne Hape scored his first two international tries to put England ahead at the interval but it was Georgia who bossed the first half.

England upped the urgency after half-time and sealed a tough victory - and the try bonus point - with scores from Delon Armitage, Manu Tuilagi and two from Chris Ashton.

England raced a fourth-minute lead with an opportunistic try from Hape, who picked from the base of a ruck on halfway and surged through a gaping hole in the Georgian defence with Flood converting.

Georgia were playing well but when England finally relieved the pressure with a break from Armitage, they turned it into points. Ashton exchanged passes with Flood but was hauled down short of the line. England recycled quickly and moved play right, where Hape jinked past his man to score his second try, which Flood converted.

Merab Kvirikashvili and Flood exchanged penalties before the Lelos finally earned just reward for their first-half dominance. Dylan Hartley was sin-binned for hands in the ruck and from the scrum against England's six-man unit, number eight Dimitri Basilaia charged over next to the posts to score, handing Kvirikashvili a simple conversion.

England won a penalty, went for touch and drove the lineout before moving the ball wide through Flood, Hape and Ben Foden before Armitage stepped back inside to beat the last defender and score.

Tom Croft won clean lineout ball in the Georgian 22 and Tuilagi crashed through the red defensive line to score his third try in four Tests with Flood adding the extras.

The game began to open up for England and Tom Wood broke through a tired Georgian defence before feeding Ashton, who streaked clear and scored under the posts with his trademark swallow dive. Flood then booted his fourth conversion of the evening.

Foden thought he had scored but play was brought back for a forward pass - but Ashton touched down for England's sixth try with the final play of the game after a strong five-metre scrum.

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