England down Australia for perfect season

Date published: December 3 2016

England were able to keep their incredible winning run going after beating Australia 37-21 at Twickenham on Saturday.

It has been a sensational year for the English team after going 13 games unbeaten, claiming victories over all the Six Nations sides and three of the Rugby Championship teams. It is England’s first year since 1992 that they haven’t lost a single game to make it a perfect season.

This was a poor end to Australia’s season after losing to England three times in their own backyard and then embarking on their European tour with the hope of claiming a Grand Slam, only to be beaten by Ireland last weekend and now England.

The first half was indicative of the furious competition between these two sides finishing 16-13 to the Wallabies. Australia looked as though they were going to run England ragged after spreading the home side with quick recycling and wide play, which was typified by winger Sefa Naivalu.

But England were not about to disappoint their fans, and their defensive pressure eventually translated into a Jonathan Joseph try, before they took control in the second half.

Australia were set to get an early lead in the first three minutes where they had a penalty right front of the posts but Bernard Foley managed to fluff the kick to the right.

The visitors looked as though they made for up their mistake immediately after Owen Farrell was tackled behind his line and outside centre Tevita Kuridrani would have scored the five-pointer, but the try was disallowed after it was found that David Pocock fumbled the ball forward on the line. It was an England scrum, but after a massive Australian hit the Wallabies turned the set-piece over and swung the ball wide to Naivalu who scored in the corner.

The Wallabies were close to compounding their lead with the another try after Israel Folau made a searing break down the left wing before Sekope Kepu almost charged over but England managed to hold the ball up.

Australia were then given a five-metre scrum which they utilised efficiently before explosive Kuridrani busted through only to be held up once again. Foley kicked over a penalty making the score 10-0 after 15 minutes.

England finally got onto the scoreboard after inside centre Farrell knocked over a penalty to close the gap to seven points.

The hosts seemed to gain a lot momentum after the sniff of points and drove right up the field and almost finished the movement with a Marland Yarde try. England couldn’t break the Australian line though and settled with three points from a penalty.

England then took the lead for the first time in the game after Australian prop Kepu fumbled the ball backwards and Farrell managed to get to it first and toed the ball through, with Joseph then outrunning half the Australian defence to score under the posts.

Australia regained the lead after slotting two penalties in a row at the end of the first half, making the score 16-13 to Australia at half time.

The Six Nations champions then got back into the lead after they put pressure on the Australian line before chipping a kick through for in-form wing Yarde to finally get his deserved try. The Harlequins player still had lots of work to do though as he had to beat Israel Folau to the ball but managed the pressure well, the TMO confirming the score.

Moments after England stretched their lead to 11 points Ben Youngs took a quick tap on the Australian five-metre line and left his opposite number for dead as he juked passed Nick Phipps and scored.

The game went quiet for awhile as both teams struggled to break through each other’s line – until the evasive Folau cut through the English line and darted past three English players on the cover defence before being brought down. Australia recycled quickly and the big number three Kepu scored in the corner after some confusion amongst England.

Australia’s chances of claiming a late win however were dented after winger Dane Haylett-Petty was yellow carded for a late tackle on Mike Brown.

Their hopes were then finally stamped out by a late interception try from Joseph, who claimed his second try in the 75th minute to seal a perfect year for England and a fourth straight win over the Wallabies.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries:
Joseph 2, Yarde, Youngs
Cons: Farrell 3, Ford
Pens: Farrell 3

For Australia:
Tries:
Naivalu, Kepu
Con: Foley
Pens: Foley 3
Yellow Card: Haylett-Petty

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry Slade

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 David Pocock, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Henry Speight

Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

by Nicholas McGregor at Twickenham

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