England need to fix the breakdown and show more control
Eddie Jones will be encouraged by three individual displays but there is a lot for the coach to work on, writes Gavin Mairs
The good Hughes’ finest hour and Underhill’s defence
First, the positives. In the absence of Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes delivered the best display of his England career, carrying destructively and defending with menace.
He also showed breathtaking skills for his try, catching George Ford’s brilliant cut-out pass in his right hand before switching it to his left as he powered over the line.
Given Vunipola’s injury profile, in Hughes England now look to have top-drawer cover. “With Billy and him at No8 we’re in a pretty good situation. Now we possibly have [Sam] Simmonds who can play there, which is great for us,” said Eddie Jones, the head coach. Sam Underhill’s defensive work also stood out, as he made 19 tackles and effected a number of turnovers in a display reminiscent of Neil Back. His competition with Tom Curry, when fit again, for the No7 shirt will be fascinating.
Alex Lozowski, whose searing break for Semesa Rokoduguni’s try also lit up Twickenham, just as the crowd had begun to show their lack of engagement with the action by switching on the lights on their mobile phones.
Big impression: Nathan Hughes scores and (left) the No 8’s match statistics