December 6 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Autumn international: England 20 Australia 13
Captain Chris Robshaw and Owen Farrell scored their first Test tries for England as they launched their two-year 2015 World Cup countdown with victory over Australia at Twickenham.
England recovered from a 13-6 interval deficit to clinch the Cook Cup through second-half touchdowns during an eight-minute spell from Harlequins flanker Robshaw and fly-half Farrell.
The Saracens kicker, who missed three shots at goal, also added two conversions and two penalties, while Australia claimed a Matt Toomua try and eight points from fly-half Quade Cooper.
England began their two-year countdown to the 2015 World Cup by parading one new cap - Sarries centre Joel Tomkins - against Australia at Twickenham.
Tomkins partnered Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees in midfield, while Saracens’ Vunipola brothers - prop Mako and number eight Billy - started a Test match together for the first time.
Australia arrived at English rugby headquarters under the captaincy of number eight Ben Mowen, who replaced lock James Horwill as skipper, while enigmatic Queensland Reds star Quade Cooper filled the Wallabies’ fly-half playmaker role.
The Wallabies had beaten England on three of their last four Twickenham visits, which further increased pressure on red rose coach Stuart Lancaster’s side.
Cooper made a bright start, with his clever kick putting England on the retreat, but the home side quickly rallied and fly-half Owen Farrell struck a 40-metre penalty that opened the scoring after just four minutes.
England then gained a free-kick from the game’s first scrum, and there were promising indications of them putting width on possession, opting to keep ball in hand, but when Billy Vunipola drifted offside, Cooper landed an equalising ninth-minute penalty.
Both teams settled quickly, with England full-back Mike Brown particularly impressive, yet Farrell missed two penalty attempts in quick succession that meant his team’s efforts to build momentum went unrewarded.
Australia were content to absorb England’s initial sparring, and the opening quarter approached its conclusion with neither side having created a clean try-scoring opportunity.
England needed a strong start to the second period, but they were at sixes and sevens in attack and defence, with their malaise underlined when wing Marland Yarde conceded a needless penalty by obstructing opposite number Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Cooper failed to punish the London Irish man, though, drifting his angled shot wide of the posts, but Australia had control until England rallied through their best player Brown.
The Harlequins player sparked a break upfield, and Yarde was only denied a try after he raced past Will Genia by Ashley-Cooper’s superb last-gasp tackle.
A bloodied Ashley-Cooper then left the field for treatment, while at the other end of the pitch Wallabies flanker Scott Fardy was carried off following an attempted tackle on Brown.
And with Australia still in a state of disarray, England skipper Chris Robshaw pounced for his first try in England colours after Mako Vunipola charged down Genia’s attempted clearance.
Farrell converted to tie the game at 13-13 before Lancaster made his first substitution, sending on Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs for Lee Dickson with 25 minutes left.
And Youngs’ first contribution was to fire out a pass to Farrell, who ghosted through Australia’s defence for a try that he also converted, making it 20-13 to England.
England enjoyed a degree of control after going ahead, yet they could never relax.
And that fact was underlined when Australia created a late spell of pressure that saw them camped inside England’s 22, but they lacked the composure to make it count.
England, in contrast, performed well under pressure as Robshaw proved particularly prominent during the closing stages to ensure the autumn campaign began successfully.
But with world champions New Zealand looming in two weeks’ time, England will need a considerable improvement on today’s display to threaten the All Blacks.