England issued a powerful statement ahead of the World Cup by annihilating Ireland 57-15 at Twickenham in a victory which set records for highest score and greatest winning margin against their Six Nations rivals.
Tries in each half by Joe Cokanasiga and additional touch downs from Elliot Daly, Manu Tuilagi, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Tom Curry and Luke Cowan-Dickie indicated Eddie Jones’ men will be genuine contenders in Japan this autumn.
At the heart of a second triumph of the summer’s four warm-up Tests was man of the match Tuilagi, who bristled with power and intent that tormented a vulnerable Irish defence that fell to pieces in the second-half.
It was Joe Schmidt’s team who took first blood through an early Jordan Larmour try, but their hopes of clinching the win that would lift them to the summit of the global rankings at the expense of Wales quickly disintegrated.
The greatest danger England faced was not from impotent Ireland but sunburn as Twickenham roasted in temperatures that peaked at 30 degrees, yet they were well equipped for broiling conditions having spent 10 days in a heat camp in Treviso.
Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola were magnificent up-front, while George Ford is arguing a strong case to reclaim the fly-half duties for the World Cup, but players excelled across the whole starting XV.
While England fans will be daring to dream would could unfold in Japan this autumn, their Irish counterparts must be questioning whether a team that laboured to third place in the Six Nations are in full reverse.
And to add misfortune to misery, they also came off worse on the injury count as Cian Healy suffered an ankle injury before Conor Murray was withdrawn at half-time having earlier passed a Head Injury Assessment.