England see off poor Wallabies at Twickenham
MATCH REPORT: Freddie Steward scored his first Test try as England enjoyed their eighth successive win against Australia under coach Eddie Jones with a 32-15 victory over the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday.
Steward’s seventh-minute score looked like being the highlight of a scrappy encounter littered with penalties.
But with the last play of the match, England fans in a capacity crowd had another try to cheer when replacement hooker Jamie Blamire crowned a 60-metre move.
England’s remaining points came via six goal-kicks from captain Owen Farrell and two from flyhalf Marcus Smith.
James O’Connor kicked all of Australia’s scores courtesy of five penalties.
Australia’s Tom Wright and Angus Bell were both sent to the sin-bin but England only managed six points in the 20 minutes where they had a man advantage.
This result, however, maintained veteran coach Jones’ 100 percent record against his native Australia since he was appointed after a 2015 World Cup where the Wallabies’ 33-13 pool victory over England at Twickenham knocked the hosts out of the tournament.
It also set England up for next week’s rematch with South Africa, the team that beat them in the 2019 World Cup final, after the Springboks defeated Scotland 30-15 at Murrayfield earlier on Saturday.
But for Australia, who arrived in Europe on a five-match winning streak, this was a second successive reverse after a 15-13 loss to the Scots last weekend.
The Wallabies will now look to return to winning ways against Wales in Cardiff a week on Saturday.
England were without props Ellis Genge and Joe Marler who had to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19.
But the rest of the squad were given the all-clear earlier on Saturday, with Maro Itoje leaing the team out on the occasion of his 50th England cap.
Chants of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, the anthem of England rugby supporters, were soon ringing around the ground.
O’Connor kicked the Wallabies into a third-minute lead with a 40-metre penalty before England responded in style four minutes later with a well-worked try.
Scrum-half Ben Youngs and Farrell combined in midfield before the ball came to Smith.
The Harlequins playmaker, in just his third Test and first against a major nation, then delivered a superbly delayed pass to the onrushing Steward.
England’s towering full-back had work to do but he left his opposite number Kurtley Beale in his slip-stream with a superb side-step before bursting clear of the Wallaby veteran, making a first Test start since the 2019 World Cup, for a try converted by Farrell.
Flyhalf O’Connor’s third penalty cut the hosts’ lead to four points.
England, gaining dominance up front, twice came close to a second try before half-time but Henry Slade’s poor pass to wing Jonny May squandered a two-on-one overlap.
England hooker Jamie George, whose earlier charging run had been ended by Wallaby wing Wright’s high tackle, powered over from a driving maul only for Australia scrum-half Nic White to make a try-saving challenge.
Australia, despite being down to 14 men, scored next through O’Connor’s fourth penalty to leave England 16-12 ahead at half-time.
O’Connor’s fifth penalty cut England’s lead to just a single point early in the second half.
But that was as close as Australia go. Prop Bell was yellow carded in the 48th minute for a dangerous tackle on Courtney Lawes and England went on to score 16 unanswered points.
The Wallabies suffered a further setback when captain and star back-row Michael Hooper limped off in the 55th minute.
England finished in style with back-row Sam Simmonds grabbing a loose ball, charging down the left wing and releasing Blamire for a try.
Man of the match: The award goes to England fullback Freddie Steward. The 20-year-old was solid at the back and he scored his team’s first try. He kept the Wallabies’ defence guessing when he had the ball and he kicked well out of hand.
Tries: Steward, Blamire
Con: Farrell, Smith
Pens: Farrell 5, Smith
Pens: O’Connor 5
Yellow cards: Tom Wright (Australia, 30 – foul play, high tackle); Angus Bell (Australia, 48 – foul play, dangerous tackle)
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Manu Tuilagi, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Trevor Davison, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Alex Dombrandt, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Raffi Quirke, 23 Max Malins.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Tom Wright, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 James Slipper, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Noah Lolesio, 23 Izaia Perese.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Stuart Berry (South Africa)