England run riot at Suncorp
Graham Jenkins reports from the Suncorp Stadium
November 2, 2003
Josh Lewsey runs in for one of his five tries
© Getty Images
England put a troubled week firmly behind them with by running a resilient Uruguay ragged 111-13 in their clash at the Suncorp Stadium.
The win confirms England's place at the top of Pool C and sets up a quarter-final clash with Wales here next weekend. Paceman and fullback Josh Lewsey weighed in with a record five tries as Clive Woodward's side sounded a loud warning ahead of the knock out stages of the competition.
Wing Iain Balshaw, back to his mazy-running best grabbed a brace, as did Andy Gommarsall, Mike Catt and Jason Roinson. Also troubling the scorers were Lewis Moody, Dan Luger, Stuart Abbott and Will Greenwood. Flyhalf Paul Grayson obliged with eleven conversions, with the only sour note coming with a yellow card for Joe Worsley in the dying moments.
Uruguay had their fair share of possession and territory, thanks largely to England's intent to run from everywhere, but once again Clive Woodward's side were able to answer all the questions asked of them. All the South American side had to show for their first half efforts were two penalties from fullback Juan Menchaca.
Woodward's re-jigged side took them time to find their stride but their intent to throw the ball around was evident from the off. With some second string names out to impress, England came out firing and Moody soon claimed the first score of the game. As los teros seemed to be going down like flies the early barrage proved to much and the England flanker was able to skip in for the score.
Uruguay rallied and England's eagerness to get their hands back on the ball saw Danny Grewcock penalised in his own 22 and Juan Menchaca stepped up to slot the three points. Another opportunity came his way moments later when this time Gommarsall was penalised at the breakdown, but this time his accuracy let him down.
England's persistence with short side penetration paid off on the quarter hour when a short pass from Gommarsall to Josh Lewsey was met at pace before the fullback handed of Menchaca to touch down.
A mistake from Uruguay at the re-start saw England in strong field position again and Balshaw exploited a big hole to race the length of the field for the next try. Obviously in the scoring mood, Balshaw tidied up a loose pass from Lewsey only a couple of minutes later before splitting the Uruguayan defence once more, this time with a dummy and raced in for his second score.
But Uruguay refused to role over and a had England pinned in their own 22 for over five minutes on the half hour. However, as many will know, England's defence is a hard nut to crack.
England were wary after a couple of penalties against them, but they defended their line stoutly and eventually cleared. England continued to hype the tempo, and a quick lineout throw from Gommarsall soon had them on the front foot again.
Balshaw, having his best game in an England shirt for a long while, once again broke the advantage line with an elusive run. he combined well with fellow paceman Lewsey before Catt popped up to finish the move off.
England weren't finished for the half yet and Gomarsall took advantage of some more domination to burrow over under the posts. The second period saw no respite for Uruguay and floodgates well and truly opened.
A good burst from Worsley created the opening for Lewsey to race away and already the Uruguayan players must have been praying for the final whistle.
Grayson blotted his copybook with the conversion attempt. Luger got in on the act next by racing up the touchline to score next but again Grayson was off target with the conversion. The changes soon came for England with the game well and truly in the bag. But arguably the biggest cheers of the night came when Pablo Lemoine barreled over for Uruguay's only try of the game shortly after.
Pressure inside the England 22 produced an attacking lineout and the South Americans finally found their way through the England defence. Menchaca added the extras but fronm then on it was one way traffic.
It was only a minute later when Abbott produced a jinking run to leave the cover grasping at air and he grabbed a deserved score. Grayson was back on form with the conversion.
Desperately looking for a breather Uruguay were penalised for a slow delivery at the lineout and in a blink of an eye Lewsey was away to seal his hat-trick. Grayson obliged once again. Catt and Abbott then combined well to create the opening for Robinson to get on the scoresheet, and then it was Lewsey's turn again, before Gommarsall was over again to complete a six minute 21 point burst, with Grayson on song on each occasion.
On the hour Greenwood, on as a replacement for Grayson, broke two soft challenges to announce his return to the England camp and Catt took over the kicking duties to stretch the lead.
Robinson raced away from deep inside his own half for the next try, and it was Catt who brought up the century with the next five pointer. The last say was left to Lewsey who grabbed his fifth and final score in the closing minutes.
Worsley was sent from the field soon after for a high and dangerous tackle but it was not enough to detract from a morale-boosting win for England.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker