England 20 Australia 13 match report: Owen Farrell finds gap to seal England revival after earlier wobbles

Lancaster’s men retain third place in world rankings after deserved win but line-out remains a problem, writes Hugh Godwin at Twickenham


With a little luck, a lot of perseverance and some tasty timing for Chris Robshaw and Owen Farrell each to score their first tries for their country, England kicked off their autumn programme with a deserved win that cemented their third place in the world rankings and kept Australia from taking it from them.

World Cups past and future loomed over an expectant English headquarters as the glory boys of 2003 were feted and the still burgeoning team of today, with only just over 200 caps in their starting XV, set out on a two year path to meeting Australia in a pool here that will also include Wales.

With Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi injured, England gave Joel Tomkins a first cap and first home starts to Marland Yarde and Billy Vunipola. Who knows how many of these will still be here in 2015, but in the here and now each contributed solidly to a satisfying if not pyrotechnically stunning victory.

“We started well then lost momentum,” said Robshaw, the England captain, whose try early in the second half was followed within eight minutes by Farrell’s. “But I was very happy to get on the scoreboard and very proud of all the guys.”

Unusually in a modern-day Test, the Australians who had won on three of their four previous visits, stayed on the pitch for their half-time chat. Maybe they were unimpressed by the Twickenham changing rooms and tunnel, redecorated in St George white and red. They certainly had no interest in helping the crowd applaud the sedate lap of honour taken by England’s 2003 World Cup winners.

The Wallabies had a 13-6 lead at that stage, thanks in part to their fly-half, Quade Cooper, landing all three of his kicks – penalties after nine and 34 minutes, plus the conversion of his midfield mate Matt Toomua’s 31st-minute try – while his England counterpart Farrell missed three from five, a pair of kicks going wide from the same spot 45 metres out and then a third that struck the left-hand post.

However, the ricochet produced an unexpected attacking position for England as a poor clearance in the confusion allowed a first run for Yarde, backed up by a charge from Billy Vunipola, who had Joe Launchbury as his wingman. It led to another kick for Farrell, this time successfully in the 22, while Australia’s captain, Ben Mowen, received a lecture from the referee, George Clancy, over the mounting penalty count against his team.

A couple of these came in the scrummage, but the line-out was much less rewarding for England. Their choice of Courtney Lawes to run operations was a gamble designed to get their most athletic players on the pitch; the spotlight was more on Tom Youngs when two throws to the primary jumper, Tom Wood, went over the flanker’s head. Athleticism is fine, but accuracy counts too.

So from England leading 6-3, they were behind before the interval. And both Aussies scores derived from the set-piece. A scrum led to the dangerous Israel Folau bursting past a soft tackle by Chris Ashton, and from a ruck near the goal-line Toomua, standing two men out, received a flat pass and beat another dodgy tackle by Billy Twelvetrees.

Then a line-out and a short Aussie drive set up Cooper, who pirouetted in midfield into a tackle that drew Twelvetrees into diving off his feet. Cooper had kicked everything in what was said to be a morale-boosting 41-33 loss for Australia to New Zealand in a roofed-over Dunedin stadium a few weeks ago. He didn’t look like missing much here either despite a blustery wind, but that was before a scoreless second half for his tiring team.

Cooper’s run of success ended on 46 minutes with a shank to the left and this respite, coincidentally or otherwise, shook England out of the torpor that they would probably argue was rust from not playing together properly since March.

When Brown fortunately got away with a foot in touch to start another long-range raid it led to England’s opening try in the 50th minute. Yarde was tackled into touch near the corner flag, the throw, and when it was eventually taken (there was treatment and a stretcher needed for Australia’s Scott Fardy) Lawes timed his jump perfectly to get a hand in the way and Genia’s box kick was charged down by Mako Vunipola’s right hand. The ball bounced kindly to Robshaw; the home captain still had to gather the ball in low to the ground and dive over but he did so with alacrity, and Farrell converted for 13-13.

Eight minutes later England had their second try. No luck this time – it was carefully constructed through pressure and field position. Farrell’s raking kick obliged Australia to throw to a line-out in their 22. Toomua kicked clear from that, but now England had an attacking platform. Launchbury lived up to the first syllable of his name with a mighty jump, the play moved left, where Brown was briefly shackled, but coming back across the field the ball found Farrell with a gap to run through to score after a momentary weighing up of his options.

The television match official, Marshall Kilgore, checked to see whether Dylan Hartley, one of three replacements just on for England and returning to the scene of his red-card misery in May’s Premiership final, had illegally blocked Moore off. No was the answer, and Farrell’s conversion gave England a seven-point advantage.

More replacements meant it was a new-look England pack that gave the Wallabies a final pasting at some late scrums, much to Twickenham’s delight. One or two gnarled veterans of 2003 were smiling inside at that, too, no doubt. A day for sedate celebration all round.


England: M Brown; C Ashton, J Tomkins, B Twelvetrees (T Flood, 67), M Yarde; O Farrell, L Dickson (B Youngs, 55); M Vunipola (J Marler, 55), T Youngs (D Hartley, 55), D Cole (D Wilson, 67), J Launchbury (D Attwood, 76), C Lawes, T Wood, C Robshaw (capt), B Vunipola (B Morgan, 67).

Australia: I Folau; A Ashley-Cooper (B Foley, 50-54), T Kuridrani, M Toomua, N Cummins; Q Cooper, W Genia (N White, 67); J Slipper (B Robinson, 58), S Moore (S Fainga’a, 69), B Alexander (S Kepu, 51), S Timani (K Douglas, 62), J Horwill, S Fardy (BMcCalman, 50), M Hooper, B Mowen (capt). .

Referee: G Clancy (Ireland).


England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'