England 20 Australia 13: Three talking points as Red Rose win
England 20 Australia 13: Three talking points as Stuart Lancaster's men win their opening autumn Test
England must take their chances
England departed the Twickenham turf at half-time trailing Australia by seven points despite largely dominating the opening 40 minutes. It was far less than Stuart Lancaster’s men deserved, with the Red Rose scrum easily getting the upper hand against the Wallabies. However, for once, Owen Farrell’s accurate kicking was amiss as the England No10 squandered three successive penalties in the opening half hour. It meant Stuart Lancaster’s men led 6-3, as opposed to 12-3, before a late flurry of points for Australia. Matt Toomua capitalised on a lacklustre Billy Twelvetrees tackle to score the Test’s opening try. The England centre made another error to allow Quade Cooper to notch his eighth point of the afternoon. It underlined how the Red Rose must make the most of their chances when up against the world’s best sides – a key lesson ahead of the World Cup. Farrell did bounce back in the second half as he spotted a gap and raced through for England’s second try and duly converted to give the hosts a 20-13 lead.
Red Rose scrum dominate
Whilst England’s kicking display left a lot to be desired, forwards coach Graham Rowntree will have few complaints about his scrum. The Red Rose were simply irrepressible as Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole all excelled up front. The trio were backed up by some ferocious tackling by Courtney Lawes, and in particular, Billy Vunipola. The 20-year-old No8 dished out some devastating tackles on the likes of Australian scrum-half Will Genia, whilst he gained vital yards going forward for the home side. After England toiled in the 10 minutes either side of half-time, the Red Rose back-line came to the fore as the hosts got their Test back on track. Joe Launchbury and Lawes used their muscle to put Australia under pressure before captain Chris Robshaw crossed the try-line and Farrell converted to level. The performances from one to eight will have filled Lancaster and Rowntree with confidence ahead of the New Zealand Test.
Folau and Cooper show class
Israel Folau and Cooper are names familiar to English supporters following the triumphant British and Irish Lions tour this summer. Full-back Folau, whose debut was cut short in the first Test, introduced himself on the international scene as a real talent with a superb solo try in the second Test. And once again, the 24-year-old sparkled in front of a British audience. England looked apprehensive taking on the twinkle-toed No15, and the Aussie star made the Red Rose pay in the 31st minute. Chris Ashton missed a tackle and allowed Folau to push the Wallabies forward to the try-line – and it ultimately resulted in Toomua’s try. Cooper was another unforgettable name from the Lions tour after THAT miss in the dying seconds of the first Test. The 25-year-old was not errant against England as he notched eight points at Twickenham, whilst dictating Australia’s tempo.