Tuilagi brace helps England to bonus-point win over Tonga

Eddie Jones’s side was keen to flex their muscles and send a message that they could match the tournament favourites with a similar performance.

Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - England vs. Tonga on 22 September 2019 in Sapporo, Japan. Picture: @rugbyworldcup/Twitter.

SAPPORO, Japan - Two tries by centre Manu Tuilagi helped England to a scrappy 35-3 bonus-point victory over a tough and resilient Tonga in their World Cup Pool C opener at the Sapporo Dome on Sunday.

Mindful the three-time world champions New Zealand had demolished Tonga 92-7 two weeks ago, Eddie Jones’s side was keen to flex their muscles and send a message that they could match the tournament favourites with a similar performance.

The Tongans, led by big-hitting loose forwards Sione Kalamafoni and Zane Kapeli, however, proved difficult to break down and it was only rampaging centre Tuilagi’s tries that gave England an 18-3 advantage at halftime.

Hooker Jamie George and his replacement Luke Cowan-Dickie added second-half tries for the 2003 champions, who controlled territory and possession and had a smart tactical kicking game but could not finish off the numerous chances they created.