Match Report : Wallabies vs England in Sydney
June 19, 2010 - 7:41pm
Story by: ARU
Matt Giteau scored all the Wallabies 20 points
History was repeated at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night with a late Jonny Wilkinson goal giving England a narrow 21-20 victory over a gallant young Qantas Wallabies team.
Both teams crossed for two tries but in the end it was the accuracy of Wilkinson's boot that gave England the surprise victory.
A cool dry night, with a little dew on the ground, and a very healthy crowd of nearly 50,000 greeted the two teams at the venue where they had fought out the epic 2003 Rugby World Cup final.
The questions buzzed before the kick off: could the young Wallabies front row hold the wizened English pack or would it be another demolition derby for the all-whites at scrum time ?
And on the other side of the coin, could the English backs find a way to continue the brilliant young Wallabies back line, so devastating last Saturday night in Perth ? Or would the slippery conditions negate their dominance ?
The Wallabies had already retained the Cook Cup last Saturday night but there was still much to play for.
Straight from the kick off it seemed a different English team with ferocious defence on Quade Cooper forcing two uncharacteristic errors from the young flyhalf.
England collected the ball on the 22 and Toby Flood took the ball close to the Australian line. Cooper then gave up a penalty for not rolling away at the ruck and Flood put England in front 3-0 after just two minutes from straight in front.
The visitors were disrupted at the first scrum with prop Dan Cole trotting off to the blood bin to be temporarily replaced by David Wilson but it didn’t help the Wallabies who gave up a free kick for an early hit.
The all-whites re-set – and the Wallabies turned the tables! A great scrum from the Men of Gold pack screwed the scrum and Australia won the feed.
Showing their commitment the scrum broke up with prop Salesi Ma’afu standing toe-to-toe with English hooker Steve Thompson. Both players received a stern talking to by French referee Romain Poite for their trouble.
The result was a penalty to the Wallabies and Matt Giteau goaled from 40 metres out in front to even things up 3-3 after eight minutes.
England re-gathered well from the kick off and Shontayne Hape, in his first run of the series, slipped a good pass to Chris Ashton who was pulled down ten metres out. From the ruck the ball came wide and fullback Ben Foden looked dangerous.
Ashton was there again but he tried an ambitious behind-the-back flick pass which went forward. The Wallabies gathered and cleared.
But England got a penalty at the next ruck and poured forward again. This time Tom Croft – anonymous in Perth – took the ball close but just when it seemed England would score Saia Faingaa turned the ball over on the goal line for the Wallabies.
It was getting willing as Thompson was penalized soon after and the Wallabies had a chance to attack but young prop Courtney Lawes turned the ball over at the line out with England far more combative in the loose this Saturday.
But a loose pass saw the Wallabies get another penalty and again Giteau was on the mark from a similar distance out to the right. Men of Gold led 6-3 after 15 minutes.
The Wallabies were stunned after 17 minutes.
From another ruck penalty England had a line out 30 metres out. England opted for a four man lineout. It was tapped down to exciting young Leicester scrumhalf Ben Youngs who darted through a gap left by Dean Mumm at the back, the Tahs lock already heading to cover further out.
Youngs sprinted through the opening and then left Drew Mitchell standing as he ran around him and scored wide out to the left. It was the first time the Men of Gold’s line had been crossed in 2010.
Flood converted and it was England surprise leaders – 10-6 – approaching the 20 minute mark.
But a minute later the Wallabies struck back. From a ruck from a lineout 40 metres out from the England line, some neat sleight of hand from Cooper saw him dummy inside to the decoy Rob Horne before popping the ball to Digby Ioane, who made up for some early jitters charging deep into the English 22.
He found Giteau supporting on the inside and the Brumbies inside back dove over under the posts. He converted his own try and the Wallabies were back in front 13-10.
Flood had a chance to level the scores but missed a penalty attempt from on 50 metres after 24 minutes.
But England continued to attack and after 11 phases and a patient build up the Wallabies line was breached again.
From a ruck on the 22, set up by Thomson, Youngs was again involved, popping the ball up to big lock Tom Palmer on the left short side.
Palmer passed neatly inside to a flying Ashton, the Guinness Premiership player of the year, who cut through next to the ruck and was too speedy for the cover to score wide out left. Flood missed the conversion but England were back in front – 15-13.
Ioane almost hit back straight away with a great break down the right but the ball went to ground.
The Wallabies then attacked down the right and Horne was hit in a high tackle by Croft and Giteau had a chance to put the Men of Gold back in front. But he missed from wide out on the left from a distance of thirty metres.
Giteau had another penalty chance a few minutes later from a breakdown but this time from 40 metres out on the right, he hit the left upright.
The Wallabies won another scrum penalty in a complete turnaround from last week, but then Faingaa over threw the line out in a dangerous position.
The half ended as it had begun with England attacking but Flood’s floated pass on halfway was too long and dribbled over the sideline. England surprise leaders 15-13 at the break.
However the Wallabies were back in front early in the second half.
From a ruck on the halfway line the ball came to James O’Connor who sliced through down the right. He found Giteau on the inside, and he trotted around under the posts for his second try. He converted easily and the Men of Gold had the lead again 20-15 after 4 minutes of the second period.
Flood brought it back to 20-18 from a scrum penalty thirty metres out just two minutes later.
England looked dangerous soon after but after ten phases they knocked on deep in the Wallabies 22.
With ten minutes gone in the second half Martin Johnson finally went for his trump card, bringing on Jonny Wilkinson for Flood. It was the wonder-flyhalf’s first game back on the spot where he won the Rugby World Cup in seven long years.
And with the Wallabies lead less than a drop goal, shudders must have gone through the Men of Gold supporters’ ranks.
From a scrum a minute later Wilkinson had the chance to put England back in front from 40 metres out right in front and the Toulon No.10 made no mistake. England up 21-20 with less than half an hour to play.
Young Reds prop James Slipper came on shortly after for Ma’afu winning his second Test cap in a tense atmosphere with everything at stake. Mark Chisholm also was brought on for Mumm.
Now the Wallabies drove forward and Ben Daley split the English defence with a powerful charge. The Wallabies won a penalty and although it was goalable they decided to go for the line.
But England defended superbly and turned the ball over metres out from their own line with the breakdowns far less policed than in Perth.
England fans broke into full voice with twenty minutes to go, sensing another famous victory on this famous ground.
Ioane's injury jinx struck again a few minutres later as he was helped off with his left arm supported, with Adam Ashley-Cooper coming on. Ashley-Cooper was called in to action straight away with a perfectly weighted kick from Wilkinson seeing him heavily tackled by Mark Cueto forty metres out from the Wallabies line.
But from the scrum the Wallabies won another scrum penalty in a much more even contest than last week at this phase.
Youngs was then replaced by last week's starting scrumhalf Danny Care.
The Wallabies attacked with Ashley-Cooper marauding down the left and Thompson was penalised again at the break down. Giteau had a chance to put the Wallabies back in front from near the touch line on the left but his shot was well wide to the left.
Delon Armitage replaced Mike Tindall, less than 12 minutes left.
Cooper launched the Wallabies into attack again with a scintillating run and then Hape flattened Giteau without the ball directly in front of the posts 15 metres out. But again Giteau's kick went wide.
Eight minutes to go and Huia Edmonds was brought on for Faingaa.
With five minutes to go Care made a half break and from the ensuing ruck Armitage found himself in space on the left but the high pass was spilt.
Then with two minutes to go Wilkinson had a chance to put it beyond doubt.
England received a harsh penalty at the breakdown and Wilkinson kicked for line. From the line out 25 metres out, the Wallabies were penalised for tackling a mani n the air.
Wilkinson lined up the shot from about the same point he kicked the winning drop goal in 2003 but this time his kick sailed just to the left.
But England gained the ball from the 22 re-start and held on to it while the clock ticked down. As the siren sounded Wilkinson booted it into touch and England players celebrated another famous victory, won by their talismanic flyhalf.
Bundaberg Red Rugby Series
Qantas Wallabies 20 (Matt Giteau 2 tries; Giteau 2 conversions, 2 penalties) defeated by England 21 (Ben Youngs, Chris Ashton tries; Toby Flood 2 penalties, conversion; Jonny Wilkinson penalty) at ANZ Stadium in Sydney (Half Time: Wallabies 13 – England 15) (Crowd: 48,392)