England overcome Aussies

2014-11-29 18:34
Ben Morgan (Getty Images)

London - Ben Morgan scored two tries as England beat Australia 26-17 at Twickenham on Saturday less than a year out from the teams' World Cup pool clash at the London ground.

Scrum dominance, allied to fine work at the breakdown led by England captain Chris Robshaw, were the cornerstones of England's victory.

The win saw England end the November programme with a 50 percent success rate after defeats by both world champions New Zealand (24-21) and South Africa (31-28) were followed by last week's 28-9 win over Samoa.

But for Australia, adjusting to life under new coach Michael Cheika following the shock resignation of Ewen McKenzie in the fall-out from the Kurtley Beale text pic scandal, the result meant they had endured their worst European tour since 2005 when they also lost three out of four Tests.

This trip saw the Wallabies beat Wales but on Saturday saw them lose for the third successive time after narrow defeats by both France (29-26) and Ireland (26-23).

In addition to No 8 Morgan's scores, the rest of England's points came from the boot of flyhalf George Ford, given another chance to impress after starring against Samoa.

Before the match began, there was a moment's applause in memory of the late Phillip Hughes, the Australia cricketer who died on Thursday after being hit on the head by a ball while batting in a domestic match on Tuesday.

After an early exchange of penalties between Australia flyhalf Bernard Foley and Ford, it was Ford who kicked England into a 6-3 lead after full-back Mike Brown was tackled late by Wallaby No 8 Ben McCalman.

Australia's impressive back division almost found a way through and it needed a good tackle on centre Adam Ashley-Cooper by lock Courtney Lawes to snuff out a try.

There was a huge cheer when England shoved Australia back at the ensuing scrum - an area where they had enjoyed success against the Wallabies in previous matches.

Wallaby captain Michael Hooper twice refused to go for the posts with penalties, opting for close-range line-outs instead.

But excellent ruck defence, led by Hooper's opposing skipper and fellow-openside flanker Robshaw, kept Australia at bay.

And it was England who scored the only try of the first half when superb play by Ford, who gathered a stray pass and then got away a low kick which led to a knock-on by Australia full-back Israel Folau, set up a scrum near the Wallaby line.

England drove hard at the setpiece before the ball came out to Brad Barritt. Scrumhalf Ben Youngs and flanker Tom Wood then combined to send Morgan in from 10 metres.

Ford converted and England were 13-3 ahead.

Either side of half-time, the flyhalf missed long-range penalties, which, had they gone over, would have left Australia with a mountain to climb.

Instead, Australia hit back with a try. Foley fed Rob Horne and then taking a return inside pass for a 45th-minute try under the posts which he duly converted.

But, curiously, Foley was then immediately replaced by Quade Cooper.

England, though, hit back in the 57th-minute when Morgan scored his second try.

Brown's clever grubber-kick led to Cooper, chased by England wing Jonny May, being tackled into touch behind his own line.

From the resulting five-metre scrum, England drove Australia backwards and Morgan plunged over for a try which Ford converted to make it 20-10.

But Australia responded on the hour mark when replacement forward Will Skelton, who had only been on the field two minutes, powered his way over for a try after good work by the impressive Ashley-Cooper.

Quade Cooper converted and England's lead had been cut to 20-17.

However, Ford's 64th-minute penalty edged England into a 23-17 lead.

Australia kept pressing but saw a potential try go begging with Folau's poor pass to Horne.

Ford's 77th-minute penalty put England two scores in front and sealed victory.

Read more on:    england  |  rugby

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