Eddie Jones and England complete perfect year by roaring back to beat Australia
England overcame an awful start to roar back superbly and overwhelm Australia 37-21 with a dominant display at Twickenham on Saturday to complete a perfect year of 13 victories under coach Eddie Jones.
Australia led 10-0 and had three tries ruled out in an incredibly one-sided first quarter but they led only 16-13 at the break and barely got another look at the England line.
Clever tries for Marland Yarde and Ben Youngs and a second for Jonathan Joseph were fair reward for England’s total second-half control as they finished off the year in style.
Including the World Cup win over Uruguay, Saturday’s victory took England’s winning run to 14 – equalling the national record set under Clive Woodward from 2002-03.
It was also a fourth successive win over Australia, who, since losing to New Zealand in the World Cup final on the same ground 13 months ago, have lost nine of their 15 games.
England will not want to watch too many replays of the first 20 minutes – though the coaching staff will make sure they do – but they will enjoy the rest of what was a highly impressive performance, mixing aggressive pragmatism with slick handling and inventive attacking.
An extraordinary opening 20 minutes left Australia in total control and, if the TMO had been on their side, they could have been out of sight.
Bernard Foley, who could not miss from anywhere in his side’s World Cup triumph over England at Twickenham a year ago, sent one penalty wide from close range after two minutes but winger Sefa Naivalu got them on the board with a try.
Tevita Kuridrani (twice) and Sekope Kepu crossed the line during periods of Wallaby dominance but a knock-on and non-groundings allowed England to escape with one more Foley penalty to trail 10-0 having barely touched the ball.
The hosts nibbled back at the lead with two Farrell penalties and when the inside centre hacked on after a Kepu fumble on halfway, Joseph was the fastest chaser to claim England’s first try. Farrell converted and somehow England were ahead.
Two more Foley penalties gave Australia a 16-13 half-time lead that was the least they deserved.
The Wallabies had further cause to curse the TMO four minutes after the restart when he ruled that Yarde just got his hand to the ball ahead of Israel Folau after a deft kick by Joseph.
By the 50-minute mark it was 27-16 after scrumhalf Youngs threw another of what is fast-becoming his trademark dummies to leave sucked-in opposite number Nick Phipps almost tackling a steward and the crowd roaring.
Kepu scored in a rare Wallaby break but, after a harsh yellow card for winger Dane Haylett-Petty for a late tackle, Joseph got his second when he picked off a floated David Pocock try to hammer home the advantage and round off a memorable year.
“The wins breed confidence,” flanker Tom Wood said. “There is a feel-good factor and a self-belief that we didn’t have in the past. We work hard in the week, to the relentless nature of Eddie Jones and the coaches.”
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Updated: December 3, 2016 04:00 AM