Joltin’ Joe gets Eddie World Cup approval
EDDIE Jones opened the World Cup door to Joe Cokanasiga after seeing the Bath flyer run the Wallabies ragged and help England end a successful Autumn campaign in scintillating style.
The head coach smiled broadly as Cokanasiga’s second try in as many Tests ensured he savoured a sixth successive win over the land of his birth since taking the reins after the World Cup.
A comfortable 37-18 triumph meant Jones’ men finish with three wins from their four games and just that agonising loss to world champions New Zealand.
Jonny May, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell, who escaped a yellow card for a no-arms tackle in the first half, were the other try heroes with England equalling their best points total against their rivals at Twickenham.
While Aussie boss Michael Cheika fumed about Farrell escaping a card when he went shoulder-to-shoulder with Izack Rodda and denied the Walabies a possible try, Jones picked out 21-year-old wing Cokanasiga insisting:
“I probably know 85 per cent of my World Cup squad but there are one or two who have really pushed themselves further forward. There was a wing out there today who did a little bit of damage. We knew he
had potential and he is growing in stature. He will only get better and better.
“He’s just starting out and has still got his training pants on...but wait until he gets his proper pants on! I think he’s gone shopping now for them!
“The door to the World Cup squad is open to everyone and he and a lot of other players can force their way into it between now and next autumn.”
Cokanasiga insisted: “I’m just there to finish it. We pushed on after the break and kept our foot on the accelerator. It’s a good win but we have to keep it going and keep this winning mentality into 2019.”
Under-pressure Wallabies boss Cheika whose side have lost nine of their 13 Tests this year, was critical of South Africa referee Jaco Peyper for not sending Farrell to the sin bin and awarding his side a penalty try at the end of the firsthalf.
He fumed: “England were the better team but for the referee to justify his decision that Izack Rodda tried to take him on with his shoulder is ludicrous.
“I don’t know...perhaps it’s because it’s Australia in the Northern Hemisphere. It clearly has something to do with the home crowd! We went to the referees’ meeting after the EnglandSouth Africa game and the referees categorically told us it (Farrell’s tackle on Andre Esterhuizen) should have been a penalty.
“So if Farrell’s one against South Africa was a penalty this should have been. And we also scored two tries that were not even put up for referral!”
Jones would say only: “The TMO has been the busiest man this autumn. We’ve had some go for us and some go against us.”
Man of the Match prop Kyle Sinckler, said: “We started really well and let ourselves down near the end of the first half when we took the foot off the gas.
“We are always striving for perfection and that 80minute performance. We were a bit off that but it was good to finish the Autumn series with a win.”
Manu Tuilagi was greeted with a huge roar for his return to the international stage. The Tigers centre replaced Henry Slade for the final 12 minutes, and Jones said: “I’m just happy for Manu. He showed us a few bits and pieces.”
Doing damage: Joe Cokanasiga scores England’s third try