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Australia bounce back at Twickenham

Sat, 17 Nov 2012 16:32
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Not always pretty, but any win will do
Quote-end

Australia bounced back from last week's hammering to beat England 20-14 in a scrappy affair at Twickenham on Saturday.
The win follows Australia's hammering at the hands of France last week and while it wasn't always pretty to watch, under-fire coach Robbie Deans would take any victory at this stage.

While the teams scored one try each, the boot of Berrick Barnes clinched the deal - as he slotted four penalties and a left-footed drop-goal.

Wallaby captain Nathan Sharpe probably summed the match up in one line, when he said they had spoken all week about "character and resolve".

That Australia had in bucketloads. England, despite having plenty of chances to clinch the match, looked bereft of ideas and also, lacked the skills to land the killer blow.

The Wallabies were unrecognisable from the side thrashed 33-6 by France in Paris last week and were unfortunate to be 11-14 down at the break.

England held a slender interval advantage thanks to three Toby Flood penalties and a controversial try from Manu Tuilagi.

Tuilagi's score cancelled out a deserved try by Wallaby wing Nick Cummins - his first in Tests and Australia's first in 212 minutes of international rugby.

Recalled fullback Berrick Barnes, who also kicked astutely out of hand, then nudged Australia six points in front early in the second half.

And the Wallabies, with their scrum vastly improved, held on for a win that eased the pressure on their under-fire Kiwi coach Robbie Deans.

Defeat left England searching for their first win against a Southern Hemisphere giant under coach Stuart Lancaster after two defeats and a draw on tour against South Africa earlier this year.

England recalled Chris Ashton after the wing missed last week's 54-12 win over Fiji through suspension.

By contrast, Australia made four changes to their Paris team, with Barnes, wing Digby Ioane, lock Sekope Kepu and tighthead prop Ben Alexander recalled.

Flood's early penalty gave England the lead but it was Australia who dominated territory with a surge by openside flanker Michael Hooper taking the Wallabies into the hosts' 22.

Hooper found Cummins but he was held up short of the line but, after the ball was once more re-cycled from a ruck, Barnes kicked a close-range drop-goal to level the scores.

Another Flood penalty took England in front but Australia again came close to a try in the 29th minute after the ball was thrown to Hooper at the back of the line-out on the edge of the 22.

Alexander, after a series of rucks, thought he'd scored but French referee Romain Poite went to the replay official and Scotland's Jim Yuille ruled 'no-try', with the ball obscured beneath a pile of bodies.

Barnes and Flood's exchanged penalties left England 9-6 in front before the try Australia had been threatening arrived in the 35th minute.

Scrumhalf Nick Phipps's break caught the England defence napping and his pass, which appeared forward, sent Cummins clear for a try in the right corner. Barnes missed the conversion but Australia were 11-6 in front.

However, England hit back minutes later when, after scrumhalf Danny Care's quick tap penalty, centre Brad Barritt and blindside flanker Tom Johnson combined to give Tuilagi a 30 metre run to the line.

Tuilagi was tackled short and stretched to ground the ball. Poite again called on Yuille for a verdict and he ruled Tuilagi had made it even though it seemed he'd fallen just short of the whitewash.

Flood missed the conversion but England, somewhat fortunately, were three points ahead.

However, two early second half Barnes penalties from in front of England's posts gave Australia a three-point lead before his 40-metre effort saw the Wallabies go 20-14 in front.

But replacement England forwards Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola then combined well to at last release Ashton only for the wing to be hauled down a yard short.

Barnes nearly put Australia nine points in front but, fortunately for England his 50-metre penalty fell just short of the posts.

Man of the match: You will look mostly at Australian players. First there was fullback Berrick Barnes, who often appeared at first receiver and ultimately won the game for his country with the boot. Flyhalf Kurtley Beale also had one of his better games, while props Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson were good value for their scrumming. However, our award goes to Wallaby openside flank Michael Hooper, for enormous tackle count and impressive work at the breakdown - where he won several turnovers at crucial stages.

Moment of the match: You could be tempted by Berrick Barnes' three second-half penalties, as they ultimately won the game. However, our award goes to Nick Cummins' try late in the first half - when  Nick Phipps cut the line and showed some good pace before he spun a pass out to Cummins, who went over for a try that gave the Wallabies the belief that they could win.

Villain of the match: Whoever thought it would be a good idea to sing national anthems at a rugby match in accapella style. In one word, it was AWFUL!

The scorers:

For England:
Try:
Tuilagi
Pens: Flood 3

For Australia:
Try:
Cummins:
Pens: Barnes 4
DG: Barnes

Teams:

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Charlie Sharples, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Mike Brown.

Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Digby Ioane, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Drew Mitchell.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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