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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

England round off Autumn internationals with resounding win over Australia

New Zealand run in 10 tries against listless Italy while Maitland try gets Scotland over the line against Argentina

Joe Cokanasiga runs through the Australia defence to score England's third try. Reuters
Joe Cokanasiga runs through the Australia defence to score England's third try. Reuters

England completed a highly satisfying November series with a crushing 37-18 four-try victory over a ragged Australia on Saturday, claiming a record sixth successive win in the 50th meeting of the old sporting rivals.

England had much the better of the first half but could add only two Owen Farrell penalties to Jonny May’s early score and Australia, who barely mustered an attack in the first half-hour, somehow reached the break at 13-13 after an excellent try by Israel Folau and two penalties for Matt To’omua.

It was one-way traffic in the second-half though, as superb tries by Elliot Daly and Joe Cokanasiga took England clear and Owen Farrell capped it off four minutes from the end before Folau got a consolation try.

The result followed wins for England over South Africa and Japan and a one-point defeat by New Zealand but capped a dire year for Australia, who have now lost 11 of their last 15 matches.

"We started well in the first half and then went away from it a bit," said England fly-half and captain Farrell told Sky Sports. "After the break we played direct and took it to them and things seemed to go out way after that.

"I think we always back ourselves here [at Twickenham], there are brilliant players everywhere you look [in England's squad] and hopefully our togetherness has shown. Hopefully that is only going to get better.

"We are just looking one week at a time. This was a tough Australia team. We are looking to improve ourselves, we need to look forward. We'll be excited when we get together again."

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New Zealand smashed Italy 66-3 in Rome on Saturday, finishing their European tour with a 10-try romp and leaving coach Steve Hansen with plenty to consider as he looks to settle on a squad to defend their World Cup title next year.

Hansen retained just four players from the starting team that lost to Ireland last week, and a few of his new picks took full advantage of the opportunity.

Winger Jordie Barrett, the man of the match, scored four tries and Damian McKenzie, whose selection at fullback has been questioned by rugby pundits at home, scored three.

Fly-half Beauden Barrett, seldom under the kind of pressure he felt last week in Dublin, also scored a try before being substituted in the second half. He opened up the Italians with sharp passing and some clever kicks, including one that picked out his high-flying brother Jordie to score in the corner.

Sean Maitland scored a try 15 minutes from time to earn Scotland a hard-fought 14-9 victory over a profligate Argentina at Murrayfield on Saturday and end the year on a winning note.

The winger was sent over on the blind side by Stuart Hogg after a smart piece of thinking that caught out the South American visitors and brought to life a dour tussle.

Greg Laidlaw kicked three penalties for Scotland but Nicolas Sanchez missed four out of seven kicks for the Pumas.

Scotland were 6-3 ahead at halftime as Argentina suffered a fifth successive test defeat which has included losses in Ireland and France during their November tour programme.

For Scotland it was a second victory in four internationals this month, having beaten Fiji but losing away to Wales and at home last weekend to South Africa.