England came from behind to beat the Wallabies 20-13 in a scrappy game at Twickenham on Saturday. If the tourists had won the match they would have moved resumed their spot at number three on the world rankings. Instead it’s another disappointing loss in 2013.
Mike Brown had a stellar game from fullback for England, claiming Man of the Match with an impressive performance that included some neat touches, runs and some great defence.
Opposite number Israel Folau was dangerous for Australia and although they had led 13-6 at the break, Chris Robshaw scored in the second half, then a fairly controversial Owen Farrell try gave England the win, pleasing coach Stuart Lancaster.
“This time last year the scoreline was the other way around. It is better to have won than lost, that’s for sure,” he said, also heaping praise on fullback Brown, who he described as outstanding.
“His ability to beat people with his feet and break tackles and the general fight he shows in his game, it’s a real important quality we want in the team.
“And I thought Chris and Tom Wood were outstanding. They both led from the front. While they are still relatively new in terms of caps, I thought both of them led the pack very well. Chris scored a good try and was involved right the way through the game, as he always is,” Lancaster added.
It was Australia’s eighth defeat in eleven Tests this year. The Grand Slam, which was last achieved in 1984, will have to wait for another year. They face Italy next weekend.
“It’s hugely disappointing,” said Ben Mowen, who replaced James Horwill as captain for this fixture.
“Just after half-time was a real opportunity for us to skip ahead and put pressure on England but we missed a few opportunities and they were extremely urgent.
“When you have that urgency, married up with a few things going your way, they created that momentum and took those two tries, so you’ve got to give them that respect,” he added.
To his credit, Mowen brushed off talk of the second try – where Dylan Hartley appeared to obstruct Stephen Moore and create a channel for Farrell to slip through – being a questionable call.
“It doesn’t matter what you feel. The refs decision is the refs decision and we’ll always back that.”