Onslaught. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition is: “an onset, assault, or attack, especially a vigorous one.” As Tyson Fury raised his arms victoriously in Las Vegas, nine hours later and some 5,200 miles away, England’s forwards would also batter their opposition into hopeless submission.
The bright lights of the MGM Grand were swapped for the tiers of Twickenham but the action in the centre of the arena was the same. The power of England’s forward line proved too much for Ireland to deal with as Eddie Jones’ side outfought and outthought their opponents to keep their Six Nations hopes alive. Just as Fury’s stiff jab showed the holes in Wilder’s defence, Ireland were exposed time and time again by the relentless England pack.
You could have forgiven the men in white from looking a little bleary-eyed as most of the country was, having watched Fury dismantle Deontay Wilder at 5am on Sunday morning. However, that could not have been further from the truth. England were fearless. From the first bell Fury took the fight to Wilder and Eddie Jones’ men gave England more success with the same tactic. Jones’ men started at a high tempo and took the game to their opponents who were simply not ready for the physical onslaught they received.
Eight minutes in England had their first try as George Ford capitalised on a mistake to cross for the home side. Things didn’t get any better for the visitors and the relentless hosts kept them under pressure from the very first minute. Just as Fury stepped straight onto the front foot against Wilder, and dominated every single round, England were able to establish themselves as the dominant force early on.
It was a performance typified by England’s third try. A short line-out found Joe Launchbury and England rucked in numbers. Luke Cowan-Dickie collected the ball and was shoved over the line by the pack of forwards who were able to trundle their way to the try line. In essence, that is the beauty of this destructive England side.
Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry. If one doesn’t get you the other one will. If Fury’s jab doesn’t break through then his right-hand will. If you survive the right-hand you know a crashing body shot is coming your way. Wave after wave of devastating, intense attack.
But this England side are not just a team of brutes and a one-trick pony. As we saw at the World Cup the talented back-line can play the attractive running rugby that many fans love to watch. Meanwhile, Fury’s style changed completely between his first fight with Wilder and the rematch. His herky-jerky awkward style was replaced by a wrecking ball display which sent the American crashing to the canvas. Across sport, adaptability equals success.
And this weekend England adapted their game and brought their unrelenting pressure to their opposition. There was no escape. England battled well in the rain against Scotland and although the conditions were not as bad this weekend, the resolute mindset remained. Defeat against France may well have taken this Six Nations crown away from them but when Wales come to town in two weeks time, they know exactly what to expect.