The Wallabies downed England 27-17 in Perth after leading 14-0 at the break.
England’s hefty pack was expected to dominate the scrum, and they delivered upon the pre-match hype. They turned the hosts’ scrum on numerous occasions, although this was the only area of the game they dominated in the first half.
The Australians literally ran the guests across the park, gaining a total of 234m to England’s 40 (the majority coming towards the end of the half). The early signs from England were good, but stalwart defence turned to scrambling covering tackles after the 10th minute.
Despite a missed James O’Connor penalty attempt, Australia confirmed their domination on the scoreboard with Rocky Elsom running down the touchline after a brilliant counter-attacking run from Drew Mitchell. At 7-0 after 15, Australia were firmly in control.
A Quade Cooper try under the posts made the half-time score 14-0, but with better finishing it could have been more; handling errors often blunting sharp play. Though the Poms were far from competitive on the scoreboard, they found some semblance of continuity close to the break, camping in the Australian half for most of the final 10 minutes.
However the second stanza was a different story with England controlling possession for extended periods. The visitors dominated territory, but frequently coughed up the ball close to the line.
A Toby Flood penalty opened the scoring with a penalty three minutes in, and the English dominated the Australians physically, forcing them into their own 22m area.
In the 53rd minute the Poms were rewarded by referee Nigel Owens, with a penalty try on the back of repeated infringements taking the the Poms within four. However, Cooper stemmed the English resurgence with his second try, and O’Connor’s conversion took the score to 21-10.
Another penalty try after the Australians collapsed an English scrum cut the lead back to four, but this is as close as the visitors would come as penalties from O’Connor and Cooper penalty made it 27-17.
The much-hyped return of Jonny Wilkinson was delayed until the 73rd minute, giving him little opportunity to make an impact on the game. Ultimately, the English were limited by their own inability to convert possession into points in the second half.
By Rory Keohane