England 14 Australia 20: Barnes and Beale fire Wallabies as Red Rose rue missed chances
16:51 GMT, 17 November 2012
England crashed to a defeat to Australia they may still be regretting in three years' time.
The Wallabies bounced back from a 33-6 thumping in France last week to dominate England, whose chances of being a top seed at their home Rugby World Cup in 2015 now look remote.
England have worn purple shirts twice – against Argentina and Australia – and both times they have lost.
Unbridled glee: Australia celebrate their third win in four Cook cup matches
England clawed a half-time lead with a
contentious try from Manu Tuilagi after Nick Cummins had scored his
first international try for the Wallabies.
But Australia turned the screw after
the interval with Berrick Barnes kicking a total of 15 points and it was
not until England emptied their bench that they posed any consistent
England will rue their bold decisions
to kick second-half penalties to touch instead of taking points because
the Wallabies defence held firm.
And the more panicky England became, the more mistakes they made and Australia saw out the victory to reclaim the Cook Cup.
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England's kit was officially described as 'regal purple', in order to reflect their place among the 'rugby royalty'.
But with South Africa and New Zealand
due at Twickenham over the next fortnight, England face an uphill
battle to join the elite in the top band of World Cup seeds when the
draw is made on December 4.
That would leave England with the prospect of facing one of the southern hemisphere giants in the pool stages.
Toby Flood kicked England into an
early lead but they spent most of the first half battling to stay in the
game, in the face of an Australia side who were more direct and more
Initially, England defended
ferociously, hitting the Wallaby ball-carriers hard on the gainline,
holding them up and driving them backwards.
No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try
But as the first half wore on,
England began to slip off key first-up tackles and that allowed the
Wallabies to build the pressure.
Danny Care did well to halt Tatafu
Polota-Nau in the corner after Australia had attempted a crafty short
lineout but they were soon on the back foot again.
Michael Hooper, the Australian
openside with an English father, slipped through Tom Youngs' tackle and
offloaded to Cummins, forcing England to scramble again.
Wycliff Palu, Cummins and Alexander
were all halted in their tracks before Barnes slotted the drop goal to
bring the Wallabies level.
England built the phases for the
first time but without any real menace, unlike the Wallabies who won a
scrum against the head and then released Cummins on the outside again.
Tuilagi and then Flood made
half-breaks for England before Thomas Waldrom took a quick tap penalty
and flicked the ball inside to Chris Robshaw.
Brace yourself: Chris Robshaw prepares to be hit by Wycliff Palu and Nicholas Phipps
Hooper was forced to slow things down
illegally and Flood's second penalty crept over the bar to restore
England's lead but it was brief respite.
Hooper ran onto a long lineout and
the Wallabies hammered away at the England line before Ben Alexander,
with Benn Robinson on his shoulder, drove low from the ruck.
The television pictures were not
conclusive enough for the try to be awarded but Joe Marler was penalised
at the subsequent scrum, allowing the Wallabies to leave with some
Flood responded with a third penalty
but Care, who had been very effective in defence, was punished for a
loose kick with Nick Phipps launching the counter-attack.
Phipps beat one defender and then
released Cummins with a questionably forward pass but the Wallaby wing
streaked down the right and dived over in the corner for his maiden Test
Care made amends immediately, turning
down a kickable penalty to take the quick tap. Tom Johnson and Brad
Barritt shipped the ball wide for Tuilagi, who had Sharples on his
outside but decided to go himself.
Quick ball: Nick Phipps releases early for Australia
Tuilagi powered through Beale and
Phipps and stretched for the line with the the TMO finally confirming he
had got the ball down on the whitewash.
Australia were back in the groove
immediately after the interval, with Barnes and Beale pulling the
strings and the Wallaby pack edging the set-piece battle.
Barnes slotted three penalties in
quick succession. England's response was to send on replacements and two
of them in particular made an immediate impact.
Joe Launchbury took a towering high
ball before Mako Vunipola burst though the line and Ashton arrowed
towards the corner before being tackled into touch just short of the
Reliable: The right boot of Toby Flood accounted for nine points
England piled on the pressure, twice
rejecting penalty shots at goal in the hope of driving the Wallabies
back from the lineout and it almost worked but Waldrom lost control as
he grounded the ball.
This time the television official's decision went against England.
Barnes' long-range penalty attempt
fell short and Vunipola continued to cause damage to the Wallabies,
destroying one scrum and then carrying powerfully into the Australian
England went for another quick tap
penalty and Waldrom came steaming onto the ball but he was chopped down
short of the line and again the gamble failed to pay off.