This will make many South Africans choke in their cereal… but England’s rugby team can very easily reach the semi-finals of this year’s World Cup tournament and maybe even make it to the final.
England achieved a 71-0 away victory over Chile in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Saturday afternoon and in all likelihood have already qualified for the knock-out rounds of this year’s tournament.
After their bonus point win, England led 31-0 at half-time, the Roses now have 14 league points and are hands down ahead of Samoa and Japan (both 5 points) and Argentina (4 points).
This means that England will finish first in Group D and play Wales, Australia or Fiji in the quarter-finals.
Chile kept up in the first 18 minutes on Saturday and made the English scramble quite a few times, but once the dam broke, the holes could no longer be plugged.
For the English, the return of flyhalf and captain, Owen Farrell, after his long suspension was one of the highlights. He was not under pressure and was the architect of the English attacks.
He moved to inside center in the second half when George Ford was sent on as flyhalf. It is starting to look more and more like this is going to be the pattern that England will follow. England play basic pattern rugby, sometimes boring but effective.
Once his physical forwards dominated, Marcus Smith (full-back), Henry Arundell (wing) and centers Elliot Daly and Ollie Lawrence thrived.
Up front, eighth man Billy Vunipola got over the advantage line every time and with locks Dave Ribbans and George Martin and later also Ollie Cheshum dominating, Chile stood no chance.
With his five tries, Arundell crept within striking distance of the World Cup record of All Black Marc Ellis’ six tries against Japan in 1995, but he could not get there.
He did, however, join ex-Wallaby fullback Chris Latham and England flanker Josh Lewsey who also scored five tries in a game in the 2003 tournament.
Farrell, who scored eight goals, is now also just one point behind Jonny Wilkinson (1,179) as England’s leading scorer of all time.
England 71 (31): Tries: Henry Arundell (5), Theo Dan (2), Bevan Rodd, Marcus Smith (2), Jack Willis. Goals: Owen Farrell (8).