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England thrash 14-man US at World Cup

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KOBE: England made it two wins from two at the Rugby World Cup as they scored seven tries during a 45-7 rout of the US in Kobe on Thursday that saw the Eagles receive the first red card of the tournament.

First-half tries from stand-in captain George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie gave England a 19-0 lead at the break before Joe Cokanasiga secured the bonus point early in the second half.

Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlam then scored their maiden Test tries before Eagles flanker John Quill was sent off 10 minutes from time for an illegal shoulder charge on replacement back Owen Farrell.

There was still time for Cokanasiga to grab his second try and England’s seventh before Bryce Campbell ensured the USA avoided the embarrassment of being “nilled” with a try after 80 minutes were up.

England, the 2003 world champions, made 10 changes to the side that beat Tonga 35-3 in their Pool C opener in Sapporo last weekend for what was the USA’s first match of this tournament.

Earlier, Italy ran amok against Scotland to bag their second bonus-point win in as many games with a 48-7 victory in Fukuoka.

It was not a perfect performance as Italy slipped at times from flair and finesse to sloppy, but they did enough to dominate seven tries to one.

With Italy seeking a first World Cup quarterfinal berth, their maximum points from two matches sent a message to heavyweights South Africa not to underestimate them.

The Springboks, who lost their opener against New Zealand, paid a high price when they were guilty of taking Japan lightly at the last World Cup and cannot afford to do the same again when they meet Italy in Shizuoka in eight days.

Under the closed roof of the Kobe Misaki Stadium, the Eagles suffered an early setback when, after the opening scrum, 19-year-old prop David Ainu’u limped off injured in the third minute.

And three minutes later England had their first try.

Number 8 Vunipola, making his 11th consecutive Test start, ran the ball from deep before Ford, leading England in place of the benched Farrell, spotted a gap in the poorly aligned defense and ran in a try between the posts which he converted.

England, however, again conceded several early penalties before the forward provided their second try.

Ford, declining a kickable penalty, booted the ball deep for an attacking lineout.

The ensuing rolling maul saw Vunipola driven over in the 25th minute, with Ford converting.

England’s third try arrived in similar fashion eight minutes later, the Eagles again powerless to resist a rolling maul from a penalty line-out, with hooker Cowan-Dickie scoring his second try in two matches.

Ford’s conversion hit the post but England were still 19-0 in front.

They could have had a bonus point on the stroke of half-time only for center Jonathan Joseph to knock on in sight of the line.