Flyhalf Bernard Foley scored 28 points as the Wallabies claimed a famous 33-13 victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
England’s worst nightmare has become a reality. The hosts will not progress from the Pool of Death, while they have become the first home nation to fail to move beyond the pool stage.
Following on from their loss against Wales last weekend, England have been left in an absolute shambles, having had simply no answer to the Wallabies’ superb onslaught.
Australia outwitted, outplayed and completely outperformed their hosts, silencing a capacity Twickenham crowd with a clinical and classy performance.
Take a bow Bernard Foley, but so too David Pocock, who was a typical menace at the breakdown, where the Wallabies completely dominated. They made a clear statement from the outset and could have scored as early as the fifth minute, but a try was spurned when fullback Israel Folau failed to get a pass away with the tryline beckoning.
Foley and opposite number Owen Farrell then each traded a penalty before the game was well and truly broken open by the Wallabies flyhalf.
The pivot showed some delightfully deft footwork to score the opening try on the quarter-hour mark, with the Wallabies having begun to demonstrate their dominance, while the English looked undeniably vulnerable.
The hosts’ defence was broken down again with a bit of beautiful interplay between Foley and Kurtley Beale, with the former finishing off his and the Wallabies’ second try five minutes before half-time.
At 17-3 ahead at the break, the game already looked to be won. The statistics from the opening stanza also told a story, with the Wallabies effecting four turnovers and enjoying the better of both possession and territory, while England were guilty of missing 10 tackles.
Although the scrums had been somewhat of a mixed bag in the first half, with referee Romain Poite seemingly taking turns to ping one side and then the other, it was a Wallabies penalty earned at this set piece that enabled Farrell to open up a 20-3 lead in the 50th minute.
Realising the need to shift the momentum, England coach Stuart Lancaster made a number of changes, with young George Ford making the sort of impact that threatened to change the tide.
And the game would be kept alive when winger Anthony Watson scored before the hour mark, enabling England to cut the deficit to 10 points.
Farrell then made it a seven-point ball game with a penalty in the 65th minute, but the decisive moment came just few moments later when Farrell was penalised and yellow-carded for a no-arms tackle.
With just nine minutes left, the Wallabies duly restored a 10-point buffer as Foley single-handedly took his side’s tally to 23 points with a third penalty, before adding another in the 76th minute.
Matt Giteau then added to England's humiliation as he scored with the final play of the game to send England crashing out of the World Cup, while securing the Wallabies' progression to the play-offs.
England – Try: Anthony Watson. Conversion: Owen Farrell. Penalties: Farrell (2).
Wallabies – Tries: Bernard Foley (2), Matt Giteau. Conversions: Foley (3). Penalties: Foley (4).
England – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Subs: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 George Kruis, 20 Nick Easter, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 George Ford, 23 Sam Burgess.
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale.
Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images