England 37 – 21 Australia
England head coach Eddie Jones was pleased to see his side securing a win over the old-enemy in Australia at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon, as the home side won 37-21 in a come from behind victory to an Aussie side that had England in deep trouble after the opening 20 minutes of the contest.
A blistering start from the Wallabies saw them putting the hosts under a severe amount of pressure from the opening kick off and had the England defence doing a sterling job to try and keep the Australian forwards from scoring early on. Bernard Foley who single-handily beat England on his own during the World Cup meeting last year between the two sides, saw him this around having a poor game with the boot by his standards and pushed an early penalty wide of the uprights.
The visitors had two tries ruled out for inconclusive evidence for whether the ball was grounded or not over the try-line and saw England let off the hook a couple of times. Those warning signs should have let Eddie Jones men know that their opponents were not going to go away and they continued their push for an early score, having been earlier embarrassed in the Summer on their home turf by England as they were whitewashed 3-0.
Australia finally took a deserved lead when their pack won the ball from an England scrum on the 5-metre line and from there the ball was worked out wide and saw Sefanaia Naivalu running in to score a try and see the Aussies in complete control of the match at the point. Foley then found his kicking boots as he added a conversion to put the visitors 10-0 ahead and silence the 80,000 plus crowd beside those in the Green and Gold.
England’s Tom Wood tackling Australia’s Michael Hooper Pic: Metronews.ca(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
This was without doubt England’s toughest test of the Autumn International games they had played to date, and going behind early on and taking an absolute battering as they were doing, was proving to be a good test of their character and resolve. England for the first twenty minutes never got close to the Australian twenty-two and when they finally shown signs of life it was Owen Farrell who stepped up to kick the home side back in the contest with two penalties and reduce the Aussies lead to a four-point gap at 10-6 just before the half hour mark.
Farrell was then instrumental in helping to put England ahead two minutes later, when a loose ball was kicked forward by the Saracens man and that set Jonathan Joseph away to chase the ball down and go over for a try and hand the home side the lead. From that point on wards it England battling their way back and began to get more than a foothold in the contest. However a couple of late penalties by Bernard Foley saw the Australian’s head into the half time 16-13 in front, but Eddie Jones will have probably settled for that considering that his team was bossed and outplayed in the opening twenty minutes.
Second half saw complete and utter domination by the home side and was given the perfect start too when the try scorer in the first half in Jonathon Joseph, then put in a little kick behind the Australian defence in the corner and saw Marland Yarde scoring a try to retake the lead again for the hosts. Minutes later some brilliant quick thinking by Ben Youngs allowed the England man to take a quick tap and make Nick Phipps look silly, after he dropped the shoulder to go one way with a dummy pass and went in to score a clever try.
Owen Farrell then kept the scoreboard ticking along with a couple of penalty kicks, as that put England leading 30-16 ahead at the halfway mark of the second half. Nathan Hughes who was making his full debut for England certainly impressed and saw the Fijian-born number 8 proving to be a thorn in the Aussies side, as he battered his way into the Australian defence time and time again and helped his side in turning the tide of the game in their favour.
The Wallabies then hit back after Israel Folau burst through a gap in the English defence and that got the Australian’s up to the England twenty-two metre line, before Sekope Kepu spotted a hole and dash for it which led to the Prop grabbing a try for the visitors with fifteen-minutes left to play. Foley wasn’t enjoying his afternoon this time at Twickenham and missed another kicking attempt and had him going from hero to zero for the Aussies, after his previous performances against England in recent time.
Ten minutes from time it saw Australia then down to 14-men for the rest of the game, after Dane Haylett-Petty was sin binned for a body check on Mike Brown off the ball and that effectively ended any hopes of Michael Cheika’s side making a comeback. Jonathon Joseph then completed the win for the hosts, when he intercepted a pass by David Pocock in the visitors half and the Bath Centre ran it over the try-line to see England completing a calendar year unbeaten.
That win capped off an incredible year for Eddie Jones side, as just this time last year they were down and out under former coach Stuart Lancaster and faced the embarrassed of being the first ever host nation to bow out of their own World Cup tournament. England Captain Dylan Hartley once again lifted the ‘Cook Cup’ for his side, after he had previously led the team to victory down under and did the same again at the home of Rugby.