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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
England v USA as it happened
England 28-10 USA


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By Phil Harlow


"Watching England is like watching a team wearing lead boots, it's all so slow. Where's the power and pace?"
vinotackler on 606

"We will be destroyed by South Africa if we play like that. On this showing we will not beat Samoa - rubbish!"
chrisox on 606

82 mins: The final whistle goes, bringing England fans' misery to an end. Where do the defending champions go from here?

81 mins: England do their best to finish with a flourish, with Andy Farrell makjing a cutting break through the middle but it ends with a forward pass from Josh Lewsey.

80 mins: SIN-BIN
A sad to the game as Olly Barkley is slammed into the ground in a spear tackle by the otherwise outstanding Paul Emerick. The referee sends him straight to the sin-bin.

The England players do not take kindly to it, but fortunately the fly-half gets up and walks away.

79 mins: The USA are finishing in total control of this match. England have not been out of their own half for a good five or six minutes.

74 mins: TRY England 28-10 USA
The USA get the try they have thoroughly deserved as replacement Matekitonga Moeakiola powers past Lewis Moody and Olly Barkley to cross.

On a day when New Zealand and Australia have shown a real ruthless and cutting edge, this really is pretty woeful from England.

Mike Hercus kicks the conversion to take his side into double figures.

72 mins: SIN-BIN
England are ending this match on a really negative note. they concede two penalties in quick succession as they try to keep their line intact.

The USA get another 10m when the ball is thrown away petulantly, and Mike Hercus is stopped just short by Lawrence Dallaglio. Unfortunately the veteran number eight cannot resist a nibble at the ball on the floor, and the referee has no hesitation in sending him to the bin.

71 mins: Mathew Tait makes an ill-advised decision to counterattack on his own and promptly concedes a penalty. Mike Hercus kicks to the corner and gets a big round of applause from the crowd.

69 mins: Yet another lovely break from Olly Barkley, who is one of the few England backs to show anything by way of guile or invention.

But another attack is curtailed when Andy Farrell fires out a clearly forward pass to Mark Cueto. The watching England coaches look visibly pained.

68 mins: England look dangerous for a while as they go through five or six phases, but a Peter Richards knock-on at the base of the ruck brings the move to an end.

Meanwhile, Lewis Moody comes on to replace Joe Worsley in the back row.

66 mins: The England line-out is not functioning at all. George Chuter misses with his second throw in a row.

65 mins: Jason Robinson is replaced by Mathew Tait. Interestingly, Tait goes straight in at full-back with Cueto switching to the wing. Is this a change in thinking from the England management?

63 mins: A classic break from Olly Barkley cuts the USA wide open, but he has no support and takes the option of kicking ahead for Jason Robinson to chase. But more great cover work from USA sub Valenese Malifa stubs out the danger.

61 mins: The first change for England with Shaun Perry replaced by Peter Richards at scrum-half.

It's swiftly followed by a swathe of changes with Martin Corry, Matt Stevens, George Chuter and Andy Farrell coming on for Simon Shaw, Phil Vickery, Mark Regan and Mike Catt.

58 mins: There is one set of dangerous backs on display in Lens, and they aren't wearing white shirts. Mike Hercus shows and goes in his own 22 then offloads out of the tackle to Vahafolau Esikia who races 45m through the heart of England's midfield.

The centre is looking to release winger Takudzwa Ngwenya the whole time but the pair never quite get close enough to link up. Still, the USA win a penalty after England infringe at the breakdown and kick to touch.

56 mins: England winger Josh Lewsey gets the ball out wide and kicks ahead for himself to run on to, but USA replacement Valenese Malifa clears up the danger.

54 mins: It's a mixed bag at the minute from England. Some players - notably Josh Lewsey - are starting to impress with ball in hand but it's individual stuff, and the ball coming back from the breakdown is just too slow.

49 mins: TRY England 28-3 USA
Finally a bit of dynamism from England as Tom Rees takes matters into his own hands. He takes a quick tap penalty to himself and goes through three tackles to score a morale-boosting try.

Olly Barkley kicks the conversion. Can England push on from here?

47 mins: Andrew Sheridan picks up and goes... and goes and goes. He bursts up the middle and skittles Salesi Sika out of the way.

Simon Shaw and Mark Regan are waiting outside, but the scoring pass is obstructed by a USA hand.

45 mins: Great stuff from the USA backs as they swing it wide in their own half. Centre Vahafolau Esikia offlaods brilliantly and Salesi Sika bears down on full-back Mark Cueto only to knock the ball on in contact.

Another lucky escape for England.

43 mins: Body language experts will be interested in a brief exchange between centre pairing Mike Catt and Jamie Noon. Catt gets the ball and rushes a kick to touch and the pair are holding out their hands and shrugging their shoulders as if to say "what's going on?"

41 mins: A mistake-ridden start to the second half from England. Olly Barkley's kick-off does not go 10m, but USA do him the honour of playing it anyway.

They chip over the top and Mark Cueto knocks on as he tries to take it at full stretch.

1755: England coach Brian Ashton is likely to have had some strong words for his players at half-time. If they're trying to "shock the world" (see 1648 BST entry) they're going the right way about it - but probably not in quite the manner they had planned...

40 mins: TRY England 21-3 USA
England grab a try they scarcely deserve on the stroke of half-time, although there are at least some signs of improvement.

Josh Lewsey is again the catalyst, cutting in off his wing before being unfortunately tripped by team-mate Mike Catt. He regains his feet and recycles the ball, and Catt and Ben Kay combine to allow Olly Barkley to glide over.

Barkley gets up and kicks the conversion to give England a flattering half-time lead.

38 mins: Mike Hercus tries his luck with a long-range drop-goal attempt, but it runs out of gas just underneath the crossbar. Mark Cueto puts his foot down to launch a counterattack, but a textbook cover tackle from Paul Emerick stops him in his tracks.

35 mins: TRY England 14-3 USA
Stop press: England score a try as Jason Robinson strolls in unopposed on the left wing.

After good dynamic work from Josh Lewsey and Tom Rees, England finally have a massive overlap and Mike Catt chips the ball 20m to the wing to allow Robinson a simple run-in.

Olly Barkley's conversion attempt curls just wide of the post.

33 mins: The TV cameras pick up England's director of elite rugby Rob Andrew in the crowd. His pained expression sums up all the joy of watching England in full flow at the moment.

30 mins: PEN England 9-3 USA
Another penalty from fly-half Olly Barkley puts England six points clear, but it will be what they do in the next 10 minutes that will be more important.

It's now getting on for 200 minutes of Test rugby since England last scored a try.

29 mins: SIN-BIN
The referee finally loses patience with USA's liberal interpretation of the breakdown rules, and sends inside centre Vahafolau Esikia to the sidelines as he comes through at the side.

28 mins: Olly Barkley threads through a grubber into space to give Mike Catt a chance, but he cannot collect the ball under pressure.

26 mins: Lawrence Dallaglio gets absolutely smashed in the tackle. He ambles into contact and is driven back a full four or five metres. Pedestrian, laboured, turgid - take your pick...

23 mins: It's just not happening for England at the moment. Hooker Mark Regan throws short at the line-out and it is still given as not straight.

21 mins: PEN England 6-3 USA
Another USA transgression at the breakdown allows Olly Barkley to edge England ahead again with a well-struck penalty.

19 mins: England are struggling at the breakdown, with the USA players coming through around the fringes to slow down and spoil possession on several occasions. The USA are conceding penalties, but England are not making their alleged class tell.

15 mins: England are dominating possession but it is all fairly workmanlike so far. The penetration is still lacking.

12 mins: England can count themselves very, very lucky indeed. USA fly-half Mike Hercus plucks an England pass out of the air and races 50m before realises he does not quite have the legs.

He passes inside to centre Paul Emerick who cuts inside the covering Phil Vickery only for the England captain to cynically trip him up with a trailing leg. Vickery escapes unpunished but he will surely be more than a little embarrassed when he sees that on the video.

The USA are penalised for holding on, and they can consider themselves hard done by there.

7 mins: PEN England 3-3 USA
Well that didn't last very long. England concede a silly penalty as they get all in a kerfuffle when attempting to drive forward off a line-out. Ben Kay is protected by two or three team-mates and they are all correctly called offside.

Mike Hercus dabs the ball over to level the scores.

5 mins: PEN England 3-0 USA
A good professional start from England as Olly Barkley slots his first kick at goal to put his side in front. The penalty comes after the USA are pinged for some blatant hands in the ruck.

4 mins: Another break from Olly Barkley - an encouraging start from England's fly-half.

2 mins: A lovely clean break from Olly Barkley with his first touch releases the England back-line. Mike Catt launches a long pass to Mark Cueto who feeds Josh Lewsey, but the move peters out and Shaun Perry is penalised for holding on.

1 min: USA make a reasonable start to the match, with Mike MacDonald making good ground on the peel off a line-out before England turn the ball over.

Mike Catt misses touch with his first kick of the match.

1655: England's players wait in the tunnel looking focussed, if a little anxious, as some stirring but slightly anonymous string-based music plays in the background.

Winger Josh Lewsey is given the honour of leading the side out as he wins his 50th England cap.

It's a breezy day in Lens as the Americans sing "The Star Spangled Banner". Phil Vickery leads his players in the rendition of "God Save The Queen" but King of the Singers must be Lawrence Dallaglio who looks like he could be belting out an operatic aria on stage.

Incidentally, we've also seen Jonny Wilkinson walk gingerly up some steps to take his seat. Not a crutch in sight.

1650: "The whole England squad, minus Jonny, was out on the pitch for their warm-up and they have just wound it up and headed into the changing rooms to a rousing reception from a stadium which appears to be at least two-thirds full of red rose supporters."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer in Lens

1648: England's recurring theme at this World Cup is "STW" - that's an acronym for ""Shock The World". So what would constitute a shock here? England finishing off an overlap? Jason Robinson touching the ball?

OK, let's not be factious. Let's just hope they live up to that Muhammad Ali-esque motto.

1642: So here are the teams. England are without some bloke called Jonny Wilkinson, apparently.

England: Cueto; Lewsey, Noon, Catt, Robinson; Barkley, Perry; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery, Shaw, Kay, Worsley, Rees, Dallaglio.
Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Corry, Moody, Richards, Farrell, Tait.

USA: Wyles; Sika, Emerick, Esikia, Ngwenya; Hercus (capt), Erskine; MacDonald, Lentz, Osentowski, Parker, Mangan, Stanfill, Clever, Bloomfield.
Replacements: Burdette, Moeakiloa, tbc, Basauri, Petri, Malifa, Tuipulotu.

1636: The Eagles' already slim resources have been further hit. Our man on the spot, Bryn Palmer, tells us that veteran lock Luke Gross has pulled out with a back problem, with Alec Parker coming into the second row for the USA.

1630: "It's all aboard for the 'rugby special' to Lens for the Red Rose hordes plus four USA fans from Los Angeles. First chorus of Sweet Chariot already."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer on route to the game

"I'd say that 50 points is a fair bet. The England 2nd XV put about 50 points on the Eagles at the start of the summer, but I expect the Yanks to play out of their skins today."
m3a2c7 on 606

1620: Afternoon all. Finally it's time for the talk of "finding the positives" or "we just need to take our opportunities" to stop. After a disappointing series of warm-up games, England are a few minutes away from beginning the defence of the world title they won so thrillingly in Australia so long ago.

Phil Vickery and his team-mates will be glad that it is the USA first up, a team seven places below them in the world rankings.

England 28-10 USA
08 Sep 07 |  English
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