Australia beat England 18-9 at Twickenham today after sorting out some early indiscipline that threatened to hand the home side victory.
Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper touched down as Australia outscored the injury-hit home side by two tries to none, with all England's points coming from the boot of the returning Jonny Wilkinson.
The Wallabies were initially dogged by the sort of problems that England exhibited 12 months ago and repeatedly gave away penalties to let the home side go 9-5 ahead by halftime.
But England invited more pressure on its own line as its attacking play became hesitant and obvious, with only the absence of center Stirling Mortlock and the penalty count stopping Australia from taking further advantage.
England dominated the lineout and opened up the hard-tackling Aussies when its backs got quick ball, but it didn't happen enough and the visitors' line was never seriously threatened despite a promising start.
Australia showed plenty of muscle and attacking enterprise but was regularly called for holding onto the ball, failing to give space at the lineout, entering mauls from the side and the occasional dangerous tackle.
Things could have been worse for England.
When the Wallabies found space to mount their first real attack in the 18th, their inability to exploit the gaps resulted in No. 8 Wycliff Palu taking the ball into contact and being penalized for holding on.
At least England captain Steve Borthwick was quick to bark referee Bryce Lawrence's warnings to his teammates to prevent the sort of infringements that contributed to last year's 28-14 loss.
Wilkinson started an international for the first time in 18 months and roused the crowd with a third-minute drop goal and then a penalty awarded when wing Peter Hynes lifted Ugo Monye off the ground in the tackle.
At that point, England was cruising at 6-0 as the flyhalf launched attacks with neat passing and imaginative kicking.
But wing Matt Banahan stepped into touch while arguing that a kick by Australia had already bounced out, giving the tourists a platform from which to attack inside the 22. They switched play to the left and, after concerted pressure, scrumhalf Genia darted off the back of a maul to reach out and touch down.
Matt Giteau missed the conversion and Wilkinson made it 9-5 with a penalty that, for all the pressure from both sides, completed the first-half scoring.
Australia was camped in England's half for the first 10 minutes of the second half and only some panicky play and a tackle on the line by Banahan kept out the Wallabies, although an offside against center Dan Hipkiss gave Giteau a penalty with which to make it 9-8.
England had to make 24 tackles in that 10-minute period to Australia's eight before center Shane Geraghty relieved some of the pressure with a rare break upfield.
But Giteau kicked Australia into an 11-9 lead and Ashley-Cooper put the gloss on the performance 10 minute from the end when he held off Cueto, Monye and Ayoola Erinle to crash over in the corner.Reuse content