The Wallabies served up some sweet revenge with a gritty 28-14 victory over England in today’s Cook Cup Test at Twickenham.
The Sun-Herald reports that an inspired second-half revival and a record goalkicking performance from five-eighth Matt Giteau were enough to give the Wallabies their first win over England at rugby’s spiritual home since 2004.
The backs-to-the-wall triumph, after the Wallabies had fallen 14-12 behind in the 51st minute, was a payback of sorts for England’s shock World Cup quarter-final win over Australia in France 13 months ago.
And it was an especially satisfying win for the maligned Australian scrum, which scored a clear points victory over the vaunted English pack which had mauled the Wallabies front row in Marseille, and equally so at Twickenham in 2005.
In a powerful display, the Wallabies forwards – led up front by props Al Baxter and Benn Robinson and hooker and man of the match Stephen Moore – were awarded three scrum penalties, and, tellingly, also secured two scrums against the feed.
England loosehead Andrew Sheridan, the architect behind his side’s World Cup win in Marseille, cut a dejected figure after being replaced with 13 minutes remaining, his pride battered and his side’s scrum on its knees.
The match was in the balance at halftime, with Australia clinging to a 12-11 lead after England had clawed their way back into the contest in the key five minutes before the interval.
Giteau booted Australia to an early 6-0 advantage with two penalty goals in the opening six minutes.
South African referee Marius Jonker called time off in the 17th minute to bark out some instructions to the two front rows following a series of scrum collapses.
“You need to get the scrum up and take responsibility,” he ordered.
England upped the tempo midway through the half and only a Giteau trysaver on hooker Lee Mears denied the home side the game’s first five-pointer in the 20th minute.
England eventually posted their first points through a 35-metre drop goal from fullback Delon Armitage two minutes later before two further penalty goals to Giteau in the 26th and 32nd minutes pushed the Wallabies out to a 12-3 lead.
England were denied a try by the video referee shortly after when replays were unable to determine if Sheridan was able to ground the ball in a desperate tackle from Wallabies halfback Luke Burgess.
But Australia could not keep England No.8 Nick Easter out in the 35th minute as the hosts narrowed the gap to four points.
A penalty goal to five-eighth Danny Cipriani a minute before the break set up a tense second half.
England hit the lead briefly through a second Cipriani penalty, but Australia responded in style, producing some enterprising counter-attack to take play deep into the opposition quarter, where Giteau slotted another penalty to nudge the Wallabies back in front.
He added a sixth – equalling Michael Lynagh’s record as the most by an Australian in a Test match against England – to leave the Wallabies ahead 18-14 on the hour.
Mortlock’s 48-metre effort gave Australia further breathing space before the Wallabies drove the nail in England’s coffin with a converted try to fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 minutes before fulltime
AUSTRALIA 28 (Adam Ashley-Cooper try Matt Giteau con Giteau 6, Stirling Mortlock pens)
ENGLAND 14 (Nick Easter try Danny Cipriani 2 pens Delon Armitage drop goal)Tweet