England beat Australia in Australia

This doesn’t happen very often, and it hasn’t happened since that memorable night in November 2003. Until now!

England’s performance was at least a million times better than last week’s dirge – they played at pace, with conviction and with belief. They led 15-13 at halftime, and held on for a 21-20 victory in Sydney.

Ben Youngs was the star of the show in his first ever start for England, whipping the ball away from the breakdown, orchestrating runners around the fringes and sending it wide when appropriate.

There were significantly improved contributions from Tom Croft, Nick Easter, Lewis Moody, Shontayne Hape, but everyone was noticeably better than they have been for some time.

Quick ball was at the heart of everything good from England, and they showed that they can play on the front foot with a bit of pace and dynamism. England will celebrate now, but let’s hope they don’t forget how they won when they return in the Autumn.

Finally, it’s great to hear Swing Low being sung in the Sydney stadium again. We haven’t heard that for nearly 7 years.

We’ll have player ratings and some more analysis during the week, but let us know your thoughts in the immediate aftermath of the game.

11 thoughts on “England beat Australia in Australia

  1. Excellent result. Well done England! Youngs was fantastic, Lawes was dynamic, Ashton was good as well. Not sure why Johnno put Care on with 15 to go, but hey ho.

    I thought at one stage it would be another brave loss but we held on and deserved to win in the end.

  2. So much better today. Just not recogniseable from last week.

    I agree, Youngs was the catalyst for a lot of it, and I have to admit it was probably Flood’s best performance for a while, or maybe ever, in an England shirt.

    I think Johnno was right with his comments after the game that you never really dominate a test in the Southern Hemisphere, you just need to try and do just enough to win.

    At times the Aussie back line was just devastating again and none of their tries could really be put down to any real defensive howlers, but generally I think we still have to tighten up on our missed tackles.

    Could this be the long awaited turning point??

  3. I really hope it is the turning point. Watching the game reminded me what we’ve been missing by being subjected to utter rubbish for so long.

    It’s a little frustrating that we have to wait until November to see if they can back this up and show some progress, but let’s hope they give the Maori a decent game in the week.

    I’m very happy for Johnno – I don’t think this is redemption, but seeing the performances of Youngs and Lawes, he ought to pick up a few pointers about picking talent and picking on form.

  4. The first 40 minutes was the best England rugby I have watched in what feels like an age… Pace, determination and desire! What a difference including Lawes and Youngs had in creating variety in attack. And frankly you could forgive the penalty count given against England, on the basis that they played without the manic nervouness that made last week such a disaster!

  5. Youngs was absolutely fantastic. If he isn’t picked as the no. 1 scrum half from now on then I actually think I will give up on England altogether. Lawes was superb as well, as was Foden and Ashton. Hape did what he was brought into do, and the the forwards were aggressive and dominate up front. It was a pity to see Flood going off with an injury as he too had a very good game – though shame his place kicking was a little off. If we continue to play like that, and with the inclusion of Sheridan (when fit again) to replace Payne, I think we could actually compete against the top teams again.

    Only real criticism was the inclusion of Armitage. He has been poor all season, done nothing all tour to warrant his test inclusion and was poor yet again when he came on to replace Tindall. Would much rather have seen Barkley or Waldouck come off the bench with 20 to go and see what they could have done – especially as they ARE the in form players.

    All in all though, great performance, good result and fingers crossed we’ll pick up where we left off today in the AI’s. Good effort boys

  6. Agree with you there Beach, the first half was superb. The first half against the French was pretty good, but somehow you knew it wouldn’t last. At half time, England were the better side against a good Australian team and you felt that they would go onto win it.

    Thompson annoyed me a little with his arrogant smirking, but I guess that’s front row play trying to get under the skin of your opposite man. I couldn’t see it doing England many favours, but you probably can’t see 90% of what goes on in the scrum.

    Very excited now about the new season and beginning the run up to RWC11!

  7. Seeing Youngs’ try was one of those special moments. Can’t remember the last time I jumped up and down in excitement like that watching England.

    Call me a nay-sayer, but I won’t believe that this is a turning point until I see at least three or four consistently strong performances. Even under Ashton we had some good games, but like today, there were indications that something was badly wrong. I don’t buy the management line that this was always coming, all about Johnno’s master plan slowly coming together.

  8. You’re a nay-sayer.

    Australia were not a poor side on Saturday, and I think it was England’s best performance against quality opposition since 2003.

    There have indeed been false dawns, but thinking through them quickly, most were after easy wins over average teams playing badly. This feels different, and I really hope it is!

    It’s just annoying that we probably won’t find out until November.

  9. Very true and we all know what happens every November don’t we? Injuries galore and back to square one. Let’s hope this year is different and we can string together some good performances.

  10. I hope so too Hutch….but need to see the evidence. I think we’ve all seen some pretty fundamental inadequacies in the England management over the past two years. Those things haven’t magically been fixed because of one game. There must be a multitude of factors that changed England from the pathetic mess we saw in game one to the inspiring performance in game two, but do you think Johnno understands them all, was responsible for them and that he has finally unlocked the magic formula which we will see used consistently going forward? Not me. Let the record show that pessimistic, negative Uncle Mat still believes that England will never be a major force in world rugby under Johnno. I’ll bookmark this page so that I can be the first to eat my words if I’m proved wrong.

  11. Think the pack would be stronger with Sheridan for Payne – I’d even have played Flatman at 1, but Payne did well in tight- but Youngs, Foden, Ashton, Flood and Lawes should all be given a run now.

    Frankly, I’d rather watch England lose tight games in the AIs playing like they did on saturday, than win 18-12 playing as they did last year, (except against France in Paris) .

    We’ re only 12 months or so from a world cup so why not give it a blast. we won’t even get out of group if we play like we did in 09-10.
    my 15 if everyone fit





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