Exactly how did England beat Australia in Melbourne

Exactly how did England beat Australia in Melbourne

How did England beat Australia, who was the hero and what does this mean for Eddie Jones?

Was this one of England’s great victories?

Of course, it was! It brought them their first ever series victory against one of the big three southern hemisphere sides. It also came about because of the one great defensive efforts.

James Haskell tries to burst through the Australian defence

This England are the real deal, that cannot be denied now. A Grand Slam and a series win in Australia, they are two heavyweight mentions on any rugby CV.

How did England go 13-7 up?

Nigel Owens on the touch made the call to Joubert that he thought Owen Farrell had committed an act of foul play on Bernard Foley.

Owen Farrell was deadly from the kicking tee

Joubert duly took a look and decided upon the exact opposite of what Owens indicated, namely that Foley had changed his line of running and had in fact obstructed Farrell. Penalty to England, which Farrell duly slotted.

Was the pitch as bad as feared?

Undoubtedly. It was a disgrace. It was simply not up to the standard required for a Test match. After the first scrummage it cut up horribly and the tone was set.

The turf at AAMI Park is pushed up under a 1st half scrum Australia v England, 2nd Test, Rugby Union, AAMI Park, Brisbane, Australia

It reminded me of the outfield in Antigua when a cricket Test between England and West Indies was once abandoned.

Was there some niggle?

Oh, yes. There was a huge dust-up after 11 minutes. England were initially penalised and then Stephen Moore came in with a shoulder and the penalty was eventually reversed after players rushed in from everywhere. Chris Robshaw had also grabbed Nick Phipps around the neck. Another result was that England prop Dan Cole had the shirt ripped off his back.

Dan Cole has the shirt ripped from his back in one confrontation

At one point referee Craig Joubert brought both captains together and said: “Do you want to show some leadership and make sure your players take that out of the game please?”

What happened just before half time?

England thought that the time was up so No 8 Billy Vunipola picked up the ball from the back of a scrummage and hoofed it into touch.

Sean McMahon of the Wallabies is tackkled by James Haskell during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and England at AAMI Park on June 18, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia

Unfortunately time was not up according to Joubert and Australia launched a furious assault that ran through 21 phases. Somehow England  kept their line intact and so went into the break 10-7 up.

How was the win clinched?

An improbable score for Farrell after Australia had yet again turned the ball over. Courtney Lawes carried and then Jamie George kicked ahead for Farrell to finish it off.

Man of the match

Paul Gustard, England’s defence coach

It is impossible to pick out one of the heroes in white for their defensive efforts but they were all quite magnificent, so how about the man who put it all together?

England’s defence had been poor in Brisbane and Gustard not only shored it up, he ensured that England produced one of the great rearguard actions of all time.

Paul Gustard, the England defence coach celebrates during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on June 11, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia

Some of the individual tackle counts were astonishing, with James Haskell, Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Mako Vunipola, Hartley and Farrell all showing up with huge numbers.

Chris Robshaw had another highly significant match and Cole’s scrummaging was magnificent. George Ford also stood up and had one of his finest matches and Billy Vunipola returned to his carrying best in the second half.

For Australia I thought centre Samu Kerevi had an outstanding first half too. His carrying was immense, so too Tevita Kuridrani.

Full back Israel Folau was always a danger too and Scott Fardy was back to his usual best, despite one crucial spill in attack.

What the two teams must do next

England

They must celebrate long and hard. They will want to win the last Test, of course, but the work has been done. They deserve a party now. 

Australia

They will be distraught again. They were probably scratching their heads as to how they lost the first Test after such a good start.  To work out how they lost this will be impossible. All that possession and all that territory and yet they could not break down England. The visitors were sublime, but the home side blew it.

– Entry was posted on June 21st, 2016 by James Haskell

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