England won a magnificent nine-try Test match in Sydney to complete a 3-0 Series whitewash and make it nine wins in nine for Eddie Jones' rampant squad
England won a quite brilliant Test match 44-40 in an end-to-end encounter which had nine tries and a scoring rate of over a point a minute. Australia went in at the break 18-17 up, after Dane Haylett-Petty and Bernard Foley had crossed the whitewash in eight minutes but England scored tries of their own through Dan Cole and Mike Brown to leave the game finely poised. After the break, the scoring didn’t let up and Billy Vunipola was first to cross after Australia lost a line-out, but the Wallabies continued to prod and probe and had their best period between 50 and 60 minutes where their talismen, Michael Hooper and Israel Folau both scored tries. The Wallabies failed to heed the warnings of Brisbane from Owen Farell’s boot and they were again punished, as he struck another 24 points, and after Jamie George hacked through after 67 minutes, two further penalties put England in an unassailable lead. A quite astonishing achievement from England.
They must have practiced is a thousand times out on the paddock but in the heat of a third Test, the old Leicester connection, came good for to open the scoring. England were on the attack, yards from the Wallaby line, Youngs took the contact but managed to free his hands and pop it to Dan Cole from five metres out. ‘Coley’ doesn’t score many tries – he has two in 68 Tests – but you’re not going to stop the 19st tighthead from that distance, are you?
Israel Folau shows his class
Israel Folau has a quiet World Cup but he looks back to full fitness and England had difficult containing him in any space. He had a hand in both their early tries, firstly, passing back inside to Bernard Foley to go under the posts, and then on 21 minutes, the ball went through his hands to see Dane Haylett-Petty in. Sure-footed under the high-ball and powerful to pull down, he was one of the game’s top carrier, with 78 metres. A world-class talent. Welcome back, Izzy!
Teimana Harrison was described as a ‘street fighter’ with a bit of ‘mongrel’ by Eddie Jones in the week, but Jones again showed his ruthless streak as he hooked the young Northampton No 7 after just 31 minutes, with Eddie Jones citing his lack of physicality in the tight exchanges as the reason he was hauled off. On the bright side, he lasted two minutes long than his Northampton Saints colleague Luther Burrell in Brisbane but it was a tough introduction to Test rugby. He’ll be back.
Wallabies second playmaker shows his value
Australia struggled in the second Test to prise open the England defence with two large ball-carriers in midfield, in Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi, forcing Michael Cheika’s hand. In times of duress, call for Toomua. The gifted playmaker may be off to Leicester in a matter of weeks and be just back from injury, but is introduction gave the Wallabies extra guile and variety midfield. His clever run off the back of a scrum evaded Billy Vunipola and Jack Clifford and he put Folau away. The Wallabies loss, appears to be Leicester’s gain.
Jack Nowell showcases his complete game
Jack Nowell went through his full gamut of skills in a top-class performance He showed his kicking class with a 50m touch finder early, gallop as he careered to be England’s top carrier with 79 metres, and handling skills with a deft offload in heavy traffic. There was also quick reactions when he gathered the ball quickest after Israel Folau bundled over him as the went for the line. Always a willing runner who punches above his weight. He more than justified his dropping from the First Test.
England opened up
Two tries in the space of eight minutes, in both halves, will have been painful watching for Paul Gustard, whose defence was lauded after only one try and 200 tackles in Brisbane. Billy Vunipola and Jack Clifford falling off Matt Toomua will also not enjoy the way they were shrugged off by Matt Toomua. Okay, I’m nitpicking but England, in search of perfection, still have work to do to catch New Zealand, and this was a point rammed home by Eddie Jones in the press conference after the game.
Australia had a line-out, five metres from their own line, and Stephen Moore put the ball up to debutant Adam Coleman who flapped and missed it. The recipient, Chris Robshaw was held up a metre out but from the resulting scrum, Billy Vunipola picked up from the base and crashed over to give England the lead four minutes into the second half. Not the start Michael Cheika would have wanted. They will also not enjoy looking at their discipline as Owen Farrell was able to rifle over 61 points with the boot, many of which were down to needless penalties being given away.
The Series has to end
Okay, hands up, I’m struggling to find negatives to a superb Test match. Over a point a minute, and nine tries were scored in a game of the highest quality. Yes, the defence coaches will not enjoy watching it, but the record crowd at the Allianz Stadium will have appreciated the entertainment.
Referee Nigel Owens
Man of the Match
Tries: Bernard Foley, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Taqele Naiyaravoro
Pens: Bernard Foley (3)
Cons: Bernard Foley (3)
Tries: Dan Cole, Mike Brown, Billy Vunipola, Jamie George
Pens: Owen Farrell (6)
Cons: Owen Farrell (3)
Australia carried 378 metres to England’s 288
Australia made 118 tackles, completing 94 of them for an 80 per cent record. England made 98 tackles from 123 and had the same completion success rate
Australia conceded nine penalties to England’s six
Jack Nowell was the game’s top carrier with 79 metres. Israel Folau was second with 72, and Dane Haylett-Petty third with 61
James Slipper was the game’s top tackler with 15, followed by Sean McMahon with 14 and Courtney Lawes with 13
England: Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley (captain), Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Chris Robshaw, Teimana Harrison, Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Jamie George, Matt Mullan, Paul Hill, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Jack Clifford, Danny Care, Elliot Daly
Australia: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; James Slipper, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu, Will Skelton, Rob Simmons, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Sean McMahon
Replacements (one player to be omitted): Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio, Greg Holmes, Adam Coleman, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Nick Frisby, Christian Lealiifano, Taqele Naiyaravoro