Best of the Weekend: England smash Wallabies to complete positive Autumn Series

Elliot Daly

It might have been a predictable result at Twickenham on Saturday, but I think the majority of fans will be content with the November Internationals from England’s point of view, who were a controversial TMO decision from winning all four matches.

We mustn’t get carried away though, there is still plenty of work to be done. England were very lucky to beat South Africa in the opening test match, were pretty poor against Japan for large swathes of the game and they only really got into gear against Australia after the first half. However Kyle Sinckler was outstanding as was England’s general set-piece, Joe Cokanasiga once again looked menacing and the return of Manu Tuilagi in an England shirt is a sight people have waited a long time to see.

Wales complete 1st ever clean sweep in the Autumn
This autumn will mean an awful lot to the team, the coaches, the fans, just almost every Welshman. Two or three years ago you could almost bank money on Wales being dreadful in the Autumn, their Southern Hemisphere record used to be atrocious, they have taken 10 years to beat the Australians who have never really consistently hit the heights this past decade. A masterful, typical Welsh backrow display from Justin Tipuric and Ellis Jenkins almost singlehandedly beat the Springboks. Wales were ferocious in defence as the Springboks threw everything at them and did enough to hold onto victory even though it cost the excellent Jenkins to a nasty looking injury.

A misfiring Ireland beat the USA in Dublin and it’s fair to say for a significant amount of the game, the men in green were rattled by the US and made a host of errors as well as the fact they had a man sin-binned. However a serious injury to battering ram Joe Taufete’e meant that the Eagles lost their talisman and momentum and Ireland were able to just stride to victory, bringing a clean sweep in the autumn and meaning that they have only lost one game in 2018. This will be a year to remember for Ireland.

Scotland held on to beat Argentina in a scrappy, traditional test-match affair. The only try of the game came through a Sean Maitland score in the second half. The rest of the game was dogged and rife with errors from both sides but Scotland prevailed with Greig Laidlaw knocking over the penalties that proved to be the difference.

The All Blacks thrashed Italy. Well you wouldn’t expect anything less from New Zealand and this would have been the same result regardless of what happened the week before in Dublin. Jordie Barrett was on hand to score 4 tries, while his brother Beauden got one too. Also big lock-forward Patrick Tuipolotu had a great game in his first start in over a year and Damian McKenzie scored his 1st hat-trick in the black jersey. Italy only had a single penalty to their name, and they were just, well, Italy. That’s all I need to say.

Fiji sensationally stunned France in Paris, and this has to be one of the results of the weekend. Despite their inconsistency and recent slump in years gone by, Les Bleus were still huge favourites at home to beat the Pacific nation. It was two of France’s best Top14 players too in Semi Radrada and Josua Tuisova that were central to Fiji’s triumph. A huge victory for the whole nation, well done.

In the Premiership

Worcester clung onto victory against Harlequins to again trouble the Top 6. No one saw that at the beginning of the season. Truth be told however, Quins gifted them that match, missing three kicks at goal and they just haven’t developed that clinical edge yet in the 22 and were very poor at the ruck. More of a Harlequins loss than a Warriors victory, sorry to any Worcester fans reading this but that is the truth, don’t get ahead of yourselves just yet.

Newcastle Falcons finally get their second win of the season over Bath, discipline really being the difference between the two sides in an error-strewn affair. Exeter Chiefs maintained momentum by beating Gloucester at home 22-6, last year’s finalists weren’t setting the world on fire but they successfully deprived the Cherry and Whites of the ball and were clinical enough to win convincingly.

Wasps clung on to beat Bristol at the Ricoh Arena, the home side looked in the clear with several minutes to go but a quick-fire hatrick from replacement hooker Harry Thacker earnt the Bears two losing bonus-points, which they seem to be getting from every game at the moment. Sale also snuck a win over a more-favoured Northampton, discipline once again the winning factor.

Saracens survived a scare and beat Leicester at Welford Road. Tigers were unlucky to not be significantly ahead 20 minutes in with two tries chalked off by the TMO and Saracens pounced quickly, scoring three tries in minutes to race to a 3-21 lead, the Tigers bounced back after halftime scoring two tries through Brendan O’Connor and a try for the ever faithful Matt Smith. But the Tigers failed spectacularly to take more advantage when Sarries were down to 13 men, the two men returned and the defending champions held on for victory.

What happened elsewhere?
In the Pro14, Scarlets convincingly beat Ulster, Leinster went on the rampage versus Ospreys and the Glasgow Warriors smashed Cardiff on Friday. On Saturday, Cheetahs expectedly beat a depleted Benetton in Bloemfontein and on Sunday, Connacht got an important bonus-point score away in Port Elizabeth, Munster walloped Zebre in Italy and the Dragons snuck an important win versus Edinburgh.

And in the French Top14, the notable results were Bordeaux picking up a decent home hammering of Toulon, Castres, Toulouse and Montpellier all edging away victories and La Rochelle beat Stade Français away from home too on Sunday.

Key Talking Points:
– How would you rate England’s autumn?
– How long will it be before Farrell will get punished for his shocking tackle technique?
– Can the US upset things next year in the World Cup?
– What’s happened to Argentina?
– Who will win the Six Nations?

By Jacob Bassford (add me on Twitter @jacob_bassford and subscribe to my Youtube channel @FlyingG_Sports)

25 thoughts on “Best of the Weekend: England smash Wallabies to complete positive Autumn Series

  1. England 7/10 for the AI’s. Did about what was hoped for in the round. Showed promise but still a work in progress. 6 to 12 months behind the curve.

    Farrell tackling. Yellow card in the next game as refs will now be looking at every one of his tackles.

    RWC will be a battle of the usual suspects in the knock out stages. Can’t see anyone breaking into the clique.

    Not sure what has happened to Argentina, but slightly relieved given that they are in our pool.

    Six Nations order – Ireland, Wales, England, France, Scotland, Italy. Can’t see Ireland being beaten. Can’t see England beating Wales in Cardiff. Don’t trust Scotland or Wales to be consistently good but they might both spring a surprise on the way through the tournament.

  2. 7/10, hopefully soon, no, apathy & Ireland..IMO & bearing in mind that I apparently now have God like status in rugger! So there!

  3. 1) A very mixed bag. Are we genuine World cup contenders? Purely by dint of being one of the big beasts then, yes. On current overall form, no.
    2) Very angry that Jones has publicly said he will keep on letting the match officials decide in the moment. Ok Eddie,let’s hope that moment when he gets pinged isn’t the semi or the final.
    3) No.
    4) I don’t know enough about the internal workings of their set up to comment.
    5) Ireland, Wales, Us, Scotland ,France, Italy.

  4. I have to admit I am getting a tad miffed with dragging the negatives out of the positives.

    Yes we were lucky to beat South Africa but on the other hand unlucky to lose to New Zealand, Yes we were terrible against Japan but still won and Australia are always up for beating England especially at Twickenham regardless of the side.

    One thing that is overlooked here is the amount of injuries England had which (arguably) forced Eddie’s hand to pick some untried players and, for me, this worked for Underhill and Wilson, T’eo grew into his role, Big Joe was just excellent, Sinckler stood up to be counted and Moon was good too.

    I for one am happier with this England at the end of the AI’s than the England at the end of The Six Nations.

    Personally we need a different fullback Anthony Watson when fit for me, I love Elliot Daly but he needs to start at 13 alongside JJ or Te’o, Farrell at 10 with Youngs at 9.

    May at 11 with Big Joe at 14 but plenty of competition on the wing.

    Nathan Hughes needs to be kept away from an England shirt and we need to have a more dynamic No. 8 when Billy’s fit the bench.

    If George can get his act together I am positively ecstatic with the though of him on the front row with Mako and Sinckler but if not Hartley it shall be I guess.

    We have genuine competition at Lock and a more balanced looking back row.

    Come on guys lets be positive and get behind the team.

    1. Just to add to the concerns about the 8 shirt, I also feel Eddie missed a trick in not trying to find another test class 3. If Cole has shot his bolt we will need another a trio for Japan. I hope EJ has a look at Schonert or Cooper-Woolley in the 6N.
      Re Hughes, i fear we are stuck with him. Such a pity that Mercer came up short and neither Ewers or Morgan are deemed worthy.

      1. Think it’s unfair to say Mercer came up short – he wasn’t great in a half where most of the team was fairly poor, including players with vastly more experience than he has. He was great when he came on against South Africa, although in the absence of Billy Eddie was always going to bolt back to Hughes. One to keep an eye on with the RWC looming is a fit-again Jack Clifford – given that it’s mainly been his arms and shoulders giving him issues he’s unlikely to have lost any pace during his recent injury travails. He’s similarly speedy as Hooper or Simmonds but with a much bigger frame – I’d say if he can prove his fitness over the coming Prem rounds we’ll probably see him back in the 6N squad as he’d be perfect for the back row bench slot.

    2. Mr B
      Agreed. Way more positives to be taken away from the four Ai’s where to be honest NZ were made to look human twice. My man of the match from the England-NZ game was ‘the white orc’ or Sam Underhill as he is otherwise known as when outside the England training bubble.

      1. AD, bit slow out of the blocks aren ‘t you? Been AWOL? Bit like England whom were nilled after 35 mins & were reduced to only c 40% possession, @ home, by an ordinary NZ you mean? Logically, England must have been even more ordinary then, eh?

        1. Try not to be so sensitive Don. Twas a perfectly innocent remark.
          As your remark is clearly a knee-jerk defensive posture vis a vis YOUR team – the ABs – i will elaborate (in response to which you don’t need to go ballistic….we will see i suspect!).
          Yes, the All Blacks were made to look ordinary – twice! The Irish completely humbled the ABs for the second time in just over a year. My quarter Irish part celebrated with Irish ‘craic’!
          The ABs were held try-less and apart from one dangerous move (the grubber through-kick belatedly collected by an Irishman), offered pretty poor fare in attack by their own standards.
          Where has the AB offence gone? Are they mentally frail against the Irish where once again Sexton outshone his opposite number – BB?
          Questions indeed.
          England were arguably on the wrong side of a refereeing decision from winning too. I suspect even your heart was in your mouth at that moment – ref to the white orc’s aka Underhill’s disallowed try.
          Devoid of prejudice and subjectivity (all black in your case) did you think it a try in real time?
          I don’t suppose you’d admit it on here though! Not before the cows came home first!
          The days used to be when ALL northern hemisphere sides mentally gave the ABs 10 pts for starters as the clock read 0:00. The gap is now miniscule – one point it seems with England! The Lions series was clearly no fluke as the team was stuffed with Irish and Englishmen. The future does indeed seem to look green and white with a bit of black protruding through now and again!
          How many Irish and English players would you dub with the status of ‘world class’ now? Please don’t be predictable and give England a two-player parsimonious dismissal; it would not look OBJECTIVE or REASONABLE for a second – certainly not in reference to the gritty Irish!
          The WC will be a four horse race – Ireland, England, New Zealand and SA.

      2. AD, so weren’t England also made to look human to after 35 when they were nilled & is the ‘White Orc’ from Middle Earth?

  5. Just thought i’d better answer the questions:

    1. 7/10, vast improvement but still work to be done.
    2. Not sure but I feel that once it gets exposed it will open the floodgates.
    3. No, The USA are not Fiji and have done nothing in beating any top nation.
    4. Not much, haven’t changed much for me.
    5. Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy, France.

  6. Wow Jacob the article title and that first paragraph has a spin even fast Eddie would be proud of:

    Playing Devils Advocate:
    Result at Twickenham wasn’t that predictable in fact had some referring decisions gone differently we could have lost that match The scoreline flattered so to say we smashed Australia is a bit Glib.
    Majority of fans are less displeased than they were going into the Autumn series but there are still massive worries that the results papered over the cracks.
    We were also controversial TMO decision from losing 2/4

    Yes there were positives
    * We stopped the rot that was setting in
    * Defence looks better
    * Backrow is looking a lot more promising/balanced
    * Some players have put their hands up with solid performances (Wilson, Underhill, Sinkler, Moon)

    but there are also negatives:
    * Pen count still way too high
    * We still dont know our best midfield
    * We still don’t know our best fullback
    * We still don’t know our back up scrum half
    * Farrell is getting more and more reckless
    * We lack onfield leadership

  7. I just threw the US question in there because they have beaten Scotland and have some very good players in Lasike, Scully, Taufete’e and McGinty there the star players but obviously the likes of David Tameliau, David Ainu’u and Tito Lamositele are all highly rated too. The advent of their professional league as seen a real improvement in the national team although in my opinion the sevens format is still more popular than the full man game.

    1. I would say that the US are third in the list of Tier 2 countries most likely to step up and cause an upset.

      On current form, Fiji look like they could really give it a good go come the WC. Japan are second most-likely but haven’t kicked on after the last WC as much as one would have hoped.

Comments are closed.