England end the year in style with dominant win over the Wallabies
England ended 2018 with a 37-18 win over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
Victory gave England their sixth win in a row over the Wallabies under former Australia boss Eddie Jones.
It also meant they had won three of their four November internationals, with the lone loss an agonising 16-15 defeat to world champions New Zealand.
This loss was Australia’s ninth in 13 Tests in 2018 — a worrying record ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The first half ended all square at 13-13 but England pulled away after the break by scoring three converted tries through Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga and Owen Farrell during a run of 24 unanswered points.
By the time Israel Folau scored his and Australia’s second try in stoppage time it was too little too late for the tourists.
This win came in the week of the 15th anniversary of England’s 2003 World Cup final victory over an Australia side coached by Jones.
Australia announced on Friday that senior backs Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper had been dropped as a disciplinary measure for inviting women into their hotel room following a 9-6 defeat by Wales in Cardiff a fortnight ago.
But the bigger blow to the Wallabies was the late withdrawal of No. 8 David Pocock with a neck injury he suffered in last week’s 26-7 win away to Italy.
England reverted to their near-strongest line-up following a 35-15 win over Japan last week.
Farrell, who came off the bench at half-time to inspire England to victory against Japan, started at fly-half.
England scored the first of their four tries in just the second minute. Australia scrum-half Will Genia, appearing in his 100th Test, delivered a poor pass to wing Dane Haylett-Petty, whose clearing kick near his own line was charged down by England scrum-half Ben Youngs, with the hosts forcing a five-metre scrum.
England No 8 Mark Wilson broke off the base of a strong set-piece and found Youngs, whose pass to Jonny May saw the wing go in at the right corner. Farrell kicked the difficult conversion to make it 7-0.
Australia fly-half Matt To’omua, who plays for English club Leicester, reduced the lead to 7-3 with a penalty before Farrell landed one of his own.
England with Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje to the fore, forced repeated turnovers — a sign of just how much Australia were missing breakdown expert Pocock.
Meanwhile England, with prop Kyle Sinckler prominent, were dominating the scrum. Nevertheless, Australia thought they had scored a 27-minute try through Haylett-Petty.
But, having seemingly awarded the score and with the conversion still to be taken, referee Jaco Peyper checked on the big screen to rule that Haylett-Petty’s initial pass to Samu Kerevi had gone forward.
Farrell’s penalty made it 13-3. Australia, however, hit back four minutes before half-time. Haylett-Petty’s break set up a ruck and prop Sekope Kepu’s pass found the onrushing Folau on England’s 22-metre line.
The fullback evaded Farrell’s attempted tap-tackle, rounded Youngs and accelerated away from Daly for a try between the posts that To’omua converted.
A revitalised Australia came hard again at England, with only a ‘no-arms’ block by Farrell on Wallaby lock Izack Rodda preventing a likely try at the end of the first half.
But South African official Peyper decided a penalty in front of the posts, rather than a penalty try, was sufficient punishment and To’omua levelled the scores.
England, however, were back in front in the 44th minute thanks to a fine try by Daly.
From a pass by Farrell, who earlier in the move had seen a kick ahead luckily rebound straight to him, Daly cut a sharp angle from 35 metres out, beating the tackles of both Bernard Foley and Genia for a stylish score England, retaining possession for 10 phases, went further in front when Cokanasiga brushed off opposite number Haylett-Petty’s attempted tackle for a 56th-minute try.
There was a huge roar from the Twickenham crowd when injury-plagued centre Manu Tuilagi came off the bench for his first England appearance in more than two years.
They were cheering again when Farrell crossed for a 76th-minute try — part of his 22-point haul.