England 43-29 USA: Debutant Marcus Smith and Joe Cokanasiga star in Twickenham win

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Joe Cokanasiga scored twice for England against the USA at Twickenham (Getty Images)
Joe Cokanasiga scored twice for England against the USA at Twickenham (Getty Images)

Marcus Smith starred on his England debut and the returning Joe Cokanasiga notched a brace of tries as a much-changed team beat the United States 43-29 in a high-scoring Test on Sunday.

After helping Harlequins to sensationally defeat defending champions Exeter in an unforgettable Premiership Final last weekend, gifted fly-half Smith, 22, was back shining at Twickenham again eight days later, scoring a try and earning man-of-the-match honours.

The hosts scored seven tries in total in front of 10,000 fans, their highest crowd since the 2020 Six Nations, with Cokanasiga at the double on his first England appearance for 22 months after opening first-half scores from Bath team-mate Sam Underhill and Worcester centre Ollie Lawrence, who was then forced off with a head injury.

Newcastle hooker Jamie Blamire - another debutant - and Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall also crossed the line for Eddie Jones’ side in southwest London, but the USA - playing their first Test since the 2019 World Cup in Japan - then exploited some poor defensive work during a lively finish to make the scoreline more respectable thanks to Hanco Germishuys and Christian Dyer, with Jamason FaÊ»anana-Schultz and Cam Dolan having touched down earlier.

With 12 regulars away with the British & Irish Lions squad in South Africa and others rested after a long and gruelling 2020/21 season, Jones named eight uncapped players in his starting XV on Sunday, with Gloucester flanker Lewis Ludlow becoming only the fifth player to captain England on his first senior international outing and the first since Nigel Melville back in 1984.

England also lost versatile Saracens back Max Malins to an arm injury early on, with a 6-2 bench split from Jones leading to Wasps scrum-half Dan Robson having to play out on the wing for the majority of the game.

"I am really pleased, 12 new caps, it was a great day for rugby spectators at the ground,” Jones told Channel 4 afterwards.

"As a team there are things we can improve but for so many players making their debut for England we have got to be pleased with how they went.

"We got a little bit loose. It was one of those games that tend to open up. As we got loose they got stronger, and full credit to USA. They kept in the game, kept coming and we got a little bit loose. We had a number of young players on at the end that will benefit from that experience.

"Dan Robson did a great job for a half-back on the wing! Losing Ollie and Max early in the game took away a bit of our firepower, that was unsettling but you have to be good enough to cope with that. It affected us more than it should have.

"Test match rugby is about consistency, doing the small things right, that is where we dropped off in the second half. They are a great group and they will only keep improving."

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