- England kick off 2003 RWC campaign with big win
- Relive all the tries from England's seven matches in our RFUtv series
After a period of heady anticipation, England finally embarked on their campaign to capture the 2003 Rugby World Cup with a very comfortable 84-6 win over Georgia in Perth.
Despite some characteristically robust play from the Lelos in extremely slippery conditions at the Subiaco Oval, Martin Johnson’s charges racked up twelve tries to send a forthright message to their Pool C competitors.
Georgia were brave throughout though, and even drew level at 3-3 after eight minutes when Malkhaz Urjukashvili punished Matt Dawson for straying offside to cancel out Jonny Wilkinson’s early penalty.
That unlikely scoreline delighted the neutrals among a capacity crowd, but a steady procession of England tries started just six minutes later when Mike Tindall latched onto Wilkinson’s delayed pass.
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Dawson and Steve Thompson quickly followed suit, and when Neil Back’s typical opportunism saw him pounce on a loose ball in the dead-ball area, a bonus point had been secured before the half-hour.
A landslide looked likely, but some resolute Georgian defence restricted England to just another Wilkinson penalty to send the sides into the break at 34-3.
Lawrence Dallaglio benefitted from an irresistible drive at a five-metre scrum to open his team’s account for the second half, before Will Greenwood got in on the act – first capping a series of surges from the forwards to score in the right-hand corner and then turning provider for Mark Regan.
Clive Woodward made full use of his replacements – bringing on his entire bench including Jason Leonard, whose 107th Test cap surpassed Phillipe Sella’s previous world record.
As the new personnel gelled, Georgia managed to stem the tide and fly half Pavle Jimshedladze doubled his country’s tally from the tee. However, the final 20 minutes resembled one-way traffic.
Ben Cohen collected a cross-kick from Paul Grayson to glide home and completed a brace by dancing around the cover defence on the opposite wing minutes later.
Greenwood’s second was a very simple scythe under the posts, while Dan Luger and Jason Robinson also crossed in the final throes as their courageous opponents tired.
We'll bring you post-match reaction with captain Martin Johnson on Monday as we build towards the anniversary of the final on November 22. You will be able to see all the tries from England's games.