SAPPORO – England had Manu Tuilagi to thank for setting up victory against Tonga with two tries in seven minutes under the roof in Sapporo. But they had to wait until four minutes from time to secure a bonus point through Luke Cowan-Dickie.
Tonga showed limited attacking intent but England head coach Eddie Jones will be hugely frustrated at the number of handling errors in a stop-start performance as well as a general absence of zip in the opposition half.
If there was a muted start to the scoring, at least in comparison with other matches at RWC 2019, there was nothing muted about some of the huge collisions in the early exchanges, none more so than the one that greeted Billy Vunipola from flanker Zane Kapeli.
The teams were level at 3-3 until the 23rd minute before Tuilagi, above, struck twice in quick succession to break some resolute defending by Ikale Tahi.
England hit the front after 10 minutes when Owen Farrell slotted a penalty for offside. Four minutes later, Sonatane Takulua levelled the scores with a kick from a far more difficult position.