England find Kangaroos are too clever by half

England 16 Australia 26

England, booed off at half-time, earned a standing ovation at the end of the 80 minutes after an improvement that gives them hope that they can beat Australia if they meet them again in the final of the Gillette Four Nations in two weeks' time. On their way to a demoralising thrashing, they played the last 40 minutes like a team who thought they could win.

Inspired by the performances of their substitutes, Eorl Crabtree, Sam Burgess and Kyle Eastmond, they outshone Australia, who had earlier threatened to rip them to shreds.

"We had a talk at half-time," said England's coach, Tony Smith, "we didn't like the situation and we didn't like the scoreboard. We're disappointed because we left ourselves too much to do, but we had a couple of opportunities that could have made it an even closer game."

England showed early signs of being able to match Australia in the forwards. But as soon as the ball went wide it was a different, if familiar, story. After four minutes, Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer threw long passes, Greg Inglis charged through and Lockyer was inside him to complete a classic back-line try.

Jamie Peacock then lost the ball in a tackle and Australia went to the other end to score through Billy Slater, who made it two tries in three minutes when he capitalised on Anthony Watmough's pass to Justin Hodges.

Every mistake England made was punished, as when Danny McGuire's pass bounced off Sam Burgess and Inglis went 80 metres for the fourth try. Another fumble by Burgess, plus a penalty, put England under pressure again. There was an air of inevitability as Luke Lewis and the awesome Inglis combined to put Brett Morris over.

The first sign that they were a different side after the break came when Burgess took Kevin Sinfield's pass and reached over. He came close to scoring a second try from McGuire's kick, and the momentum remained with England as the crowd got behind them.

One of Crabtree's strong drives set up their second try, Eastmond and Sam Tomkins getting to ball to Gareth Ellis. When Thurston was sin-binned for holding on in the tackle and Lee Smith went over in the corner from Eastmond's pass, England wished the game was 10 minutes longer. As it is, they just have the small matter of New Zealand to negotiate next week to give them the chance to show they can take on Australia for the whole of a match.

World champions New Zealand went to the top of the Four Nations table with a 62-12 victory in Toulouse over a severely depleted French side who competed well in the first half but faded badly in the second. Sam Perrett was the Kiwis' man of the match with a hat-trick of tries.

England S Briscoe; T Briscoe, L Smith, Shenton, Hall; McGuire, Tomkins; Morley, Roby, Graham, Peacock, Ellis, Sinfield.

Substitutes used: Crabtree, Westwood, Eastmond, Burgess.

Australia Slater; Morris, Inglis, Hodges, Hayne; Lockyer, Thurston; Hannant, C Smith, Civoniceva, Watmough, Gallen, Hindmarsh. Substitutes used: Farah, Lewis, White, Shillington.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable