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.