Wallabies bounce back to beat England
LONDON (AFP) –
Australia returned to form with a 20-14 victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday which also saw them end their lengthy wait for a Test try.
The Wallabies were unrecognisable from the side thrashed 33-6 by France in Paris last week and were unfortunate to be 14-11 down at the break.
England held a slender interval advantage thanks to three Toby Flood penalties and a controversial try from Manu Tuilagi.
Tuilagi’s score cancelled out a deserved try by Wallaby wing Nick Cummins — his first in Tests and Australia’s first in 212 minutes of international rugby.
Recalled full-back Berrick Barnes, who also kicked astutely out of hand, then nudged Australia six points in front early in the second half.
And the Wallabies, with their scrum vastly improved, held on for a win that eased the pressure on their under-fire Kiwi coach Robbie Deans.
Defeat left England searching for their first win against a southern hemisphere giant under coach Stuart Lancaster after two defeats and a draw on tour against South Africa earlier this year.
England recalled Chris Ashton after the wing missed last week’s 54-12 win over Fiji through suspension.
By contrast, Australia made four changes to their Paris team, with Barnes, wing Digby Ioane, lock Sekope Kepu and tighthead prop Ben Alexander recalled.
Flood’s early penalty gave England the lead but it was Australia who dominated territory with a surge by openside flanker Michael Hooper taking the Wallabies into the hosts’ 22.
Hooper found Cummins but he was held up short of the line but, after the ball was once more re-cycled from a ruck, Barnes kicked a close-range drop-goal to level the scores.
Another Flood penalty took England in front but Australia again came close to a try in the 29th minute after the ball was thrown to Hooper at the back of the line-out on the edge of the 22.
Alexander, after a series of rucks, thought he’d scored but French referee Romain Poite went to the replay offical and Scotland’s Jim Yuille ruled ‘no-try’, with the ball obscured beneath a pile of bodies.
Barnes and Flood’s exchanged penalties left England 9-6 in front before the try Australia had been threatening arrived in the 35th minute.
Scrum-half Nick Phipps’s break caught the England defence napping and his pass, which appeared forward, sent Cummins clear for a try in the right corner. Barnes missed the conversion but Australia were 11-6 in front.
However, England hit back minutes later when, after scrum-half Danny Care’s quick tap penalty, centre Brad Barritt and blindside flanker Tom Johnson combined to give Tuilagi a 30 metre run to the line.
Tuilagi was tackled short and stretched to ground the ball. Poite again called on Yuille for a verdict and he ruled Tuilagi had made it even though it seemed he’d fallen just short of the whitewash.
Flood missed the conversion but England, somewhat fortunately, were three points ahead.
However, two early second half Barnes penalties from in front of England’s posts gave Australia a three-point lead before his 40 metre effort saw the Wallabies go 20-14 in front.
But replacement England forwards Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola then combined well to at last release Ashton only for the wing to be hauled down a yard short.
Barnes nearly put Australia nine points in front but, fortunately for England his 50 metre penalty fell just short of the posts.