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England v USA: Power will be the difference as Jones' second string put on a show

Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi - England's ace in the hole
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Tim Cocker, the England quarter of our four-man Pod Nation crew, takes a look at look at the upcoming game against USA where he expects an improved performance from Eddie Jones' Rugby World Cup second favourites

"There are some big positives for England fans though. That's now gone 160 minutes without conceding a try (and defences are the bedrock of World Champions) and they have a fit and firing Manu Tuilagi - an untouchable, world class player when he's in full flow."

England were underwhelming, disjointed and lacked fluency against Tonga. Yet they took away the maximum five points and won by the largest margin in any of the opening round of games. So how do we judge them? There are plenty of doom mongers jumping to unflattering conclusions. I actually think Eddie Jones is spot on when he points out the only result that matters is reaching, and winning, the seventh game in a World Cup. England's schedule ramps up gradually, and no doubt they'll be expecting to improve against the USA in readiness for two huge games that lie in wait against Argentina and France.

England will still bring the power

I don't expect England to change the style of play in the next game. They will try to soften their opponents up with a brutal power game and kick intelligently to win a tactical and territorial battle. They just need to do it with greater ruthlessness and more accuracy.

There are some big positives for England fans though. That's now gone 160 minutes without conceding a try (and defences are the bedrock of World Champions) and they have a fit and firing Manu Tuilagi - an untouchable, world class player when he's in full flow. He is England's ace in the hole. I just hope Billy Vunipola, a key player who's doubling up against the USA, can stay fit too.

One man notable by his absence his Henry Slade...after 30 minutes against Tonga I would've expected to see him involved in the second game. Is there a concern over his freshly recovered knee?

Time for second string to impress

As with Tonga, this match up with the Eagles isn't about the result, that's not in doubt. As well as collecting the maximum five points, which I fully expect, they must take a step forward in to set up that Argentinian showdown. That will be when the true assessment of England's chances of success should be made.

I think we'll be toasting a dominant performance because the power game will be much more effective against a USA pack that's not filled with Tongan giants. But also because this, for some of the England players, could be their only gametime at the World Cup unless they impress. They'll be fired up!

Tim Cocker,

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