England, NZ sign off with bags of tries
ENGLAND got the World Cup send-off they wanted, beating Italy 37-0 with help from a man who will not be travelling to Japan.
Centre Joe Marchant, who got his chance with Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph under treatment, scored an outstanding try in Newcastle.
England’s first home game away from Twickenham since 2015 was initially a low-key affair, with the big St James’s Park crowd unimpressed by their first-half performance. But Marchant’s solo try after 53 minutes gave them something to cheer.
It was only 9-0 at halftime but England ran in four second-half tries to run out comfortable winners.
England will be without prop Mako Vunipola and wing Jack Nowell for at least their first two games of the World Cup in Japan.
Vunipola tore scar tissue on an old hamstring injury as a second-half replacement against Ireland last month, and Nowell is recovering from a serious ankle injury.
The All Blacks wrapped up their cup preparations with a runaway 92-7 victory over Tonga, with George Bridge scoring four times in the 14-try romp in Hamilton yesterday.
Coach Steve Hansen wanted to fine-tune his expansive game plan before heading to Tokyo and his champions did not disappoint.
Scotland stuck six more tries on Georgia in a sloppy 36-9 win at Murrayfield in their last warm-up match.