|England (6) 30|
|Tries: Daly, Joseph, May, Care Cons: Farrell 2 Pens: Farrell 2|
|Australia (0) 6|
|Pens: Hodge, Foley|
England made it five wins on the bounce over a resurgent Australia as a late trio of exhilarating tries saw them battle to a controversial victory.
The Wallabies lost their captain Michael Hooper and full-back Kurtley Beale to first-half yellow cards and had two tries of their own disallowed as a series of marginal calls went against them.
A week ago it had been Eddie Jones left cursing in the stands, but this time it was his counterpart Michael Cheika left fuming as his side went from near-parity to the ropes in a dramatic final quarter.
Elliot Daly’s try early in the second half, given only after repeated checks that the ball had not gone out of play, had built on an early lead established by Owen Farrell’s boot.
Australia winger Marika Koroibete thought he had made it 13-11 with a simple conversion to come, but 28-year-old referee Ben O’Keeffe ruled it out for an offside against replacement hooker Stephen Moore, and England took full advantage.
Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May and the impressive Danny Care all crossed late on as the home side’s ‘finishers’ overwhelmed an exhausted gold-shirted defence.
It means England have now won 21 of their 22 matches under Jones, the Twickenham crowd celebrating wildly at the end of a messy thriller of a contest.
Yellows but not mellow in frenetic first half
After the underwhelming win over Argentina a week ago, England began with much more pace and ambition despite the freezing, sodden conditions.
Farrell’s early penalty lifted the home crowd and Foley’s horrible mis-kick from the tee as he attempted to level the scores brought further cheer.
Wet hands and cold fingers cost both sides promising attacking opportunities, England kicking behind the Australia defence to good effect as they sought to establish some control.
With Maro Itoje making an instant impact after replacing Sam Underhill, stealing an attacking Wallabies line-out deep in the England 22, Farrell spurned a second kickable penalty to go for the corner.
Multiple infringements from the subsequent driving maul saw Hooper sin-binned and Farrell make it 6-0, and when Beale was penalised for a deliberate knock-on as May looked to put Joseph away, the visitors ended the half down to 13 men, burgling another England line-out inside their 22 to stay within touching distance.
Controversial TMO decision costs Wallabies
England could not initially capitalise. By the time Beale was back on Reece Hodge had landed a penalty from 47 metres to make it 6-3, Itoje ignoring May free on his outside when England did make inroads at pace.
The game appeared to have turned on a breathless period of play in the 57th minute. First Samu Kerevi gathered the ball under immense pressure from May, stepped and accelerated through a scattered English defence, finding Tevita Kuridrani with the offload and the line beckoning only for his centre partner to drop the ball.
George Ford then gathered the loose ball before Ben Youngs kicked long, and with the Wallaby rearguard out of position Daly just beat Beale to the loose ball, kicked ahead into the unguarded 22 and then toe-poked again before falling on the ball over the try line.
Farrell’s dead-eyed conversion made it 13-3 after the TMO finally decided the ball had not gone into touch before Daly’s intervention, only for Foley to cut the deficit to a converted try with 17 minutes left on the clock.
Australia were dominating possession, and when Koroibete smashed through, found Foley in support and took the return pass before rolling through Chris Robshaw’s desperate tackle and touching the ball down, they looked set to bring it level.
But after an age the television match official ruled that replacement hooker Moore had obstructed the England blind-side as he made his tackle, and gold-shirted celebrations turned to dismay.
Care’s cute kick over the top into space was gathered by Joseph to slide over for his 17th international try, and the door had slammed shut.
Cheika’s anger turned to disbelief and then laughter at the number of tight decisions that had gone against his side.
And he was left shaking his head as a grubber from Care was seized by May, the winger jinking and twisting over the line, before a repeat of the same combination down the left ended with Care diving into the corner for the coup de grace.
‘We got a few lucky bounces’
England head coach Eddie Jones: “It was a tough old game – we got a few lucky bounces, Australia probably didn’t.
“We just stuck at it today. Our finishers did very well and they [Australia] fell apart at the end.”
Team news & line-ups
England: 15-Anthony Watson; 14-Jonny May, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-Elliot Daly; 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs; 1-Mako Vunipola, 2-Dylan Hartley, 3-Dan Cole, 4-Joe Launchbury, 5-Courtney Lawes, 6-Chris Robshaw, 7-Sam Underhill, 8-Nathan Hughes
Replacements: 16-Jamie George, 17-Joe Marler, 18-Harry Williams, 19-Maro Itoje, 20-Sam Simmonds, 21-Danny Care, 22-Henry Slade, 23-Semesa Rokoduguni
Australia: 15-Kurtley Beale; 14-Marika Koroibete, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Reece Hodge; 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Will Genia; 1-Scott Sio, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3-Sekope Kepu, 4-Rob Simmons, 5-Blake Enever, 6-Ned Hanigan, 7-Michael Hooper, 8-Sean McMahon
Replacements: 16-Stephen Moore, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Matt Philip, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Lopeti Timani, 22-Nick Phipps, 23-Karmichael Hunt