England created history on Saturday morning as they beat Australia in Brisbane for the first time to take a 1-0 series lead ahead of the second Test in Melbourne.
That win made it eight out of eight for England under Eddie Jones, as the Australian looks to build on their Six Nations success and become the number one team in world rugby.
It was a remarkable test match in which first one was on the up, then the other, as skill and mistakes matched each other across the 80 minutes. Australia will see themselves as unfortunate, having won the try count 4-3. But this was England’s day who produced their most complete performance in the Southern Hemisphere since 2003.
What a match yesterday👏
▪️Watch the highlights
▪️Relive the drama
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) 12 June 2016
England took their opportunities and know that if they can keep doing so they can achieve a wonderful outcome.
Australia began in dominant manner in Brisbane with their three quarters carving England apart, going 10-0 up with quality unconverted tries by Michael Hooper and Israel Folau. This was a completely different pace of game to the Six Nations.
Then came the turning-point as Bernard Foley touched down in the corner, but his fine individual effort was chalked off for obstruction in midfield. Jones made the decision to haul Luther Burrell off and moved George Ford to fly-half.
The dynamic of the game was transformed as the boot of Owen Farrell got England back into it, and then a calamitous attempt to run out of their own 22 gifted Jonathan Joseph an easy try.
The first half ended with England ahead 19-13 and despite their blistering start Micheal Cheika’s side were behind.
England produce stunning second half display to take down Australia in Brisbane
Indeed their game seemed to be jinxed and the second half saw the visitors gradually get on top.
Immediately the rampaging run of James Haskell forced Australia back towards their line and Ford sent Marland Yarde over with a glorious long pass. It was a beautifully worked score, with the power game of the forwards complimented perfectly by the guile of the backs.
The scrum, where Australia dominated during the World Cup, became a real source of strength for England and Australian prop Scott Sio paid the penalty, being yellow carded for boring in and failing to push straight.
Down to 14 men, Australia rallied and Hooper scored an excellent second try in the corner. Then centre Tevita Kuridrani battered over. A Foley penalty got it back to 28-32 and now it could go either way.
But England were to finish in style as the minutes ticked by and the Aussies threw the ball around frantically trying to find an opening. As so often happens when desperation sets in the side chasing the game make a mistake.
Substitute scrum half Danny Care showed fantastic awareness to burst up the field, and, with England supporters screaming at them to play the last seconds out, Ford’s delightful kick set up Jack Nowell to score. Farrell’s touchline conversion made it 39-28.
A record win Down Under. Who would have thought this could be possible six-months ago?
The performances all over the field were of the highest-quality. Maro Itoje playing just his sixth test looked like a 100 test veteran. James Haskell was rightfully awarded Man of the Match for his all-action display which featured 18 bone shattering tackles. Along with Chris Robshaw he exercised the demons of the World Cup where Hooper and Pocock dominated the breakdown.
England coach Eddie Jones kept a lid on his emotions after the game, saying: “We didn’t play well, let’s face the facts. We weren’t sharp in various areas, but we will be next week.
“They didn’t play well, so whichever side improves the most will win the next Test, and that’s going to be us.”
But this was what they dreamed of – an opening win to put all the pressure on Australia heading to Melbourne and then Sydney on the next two Saturdays.
England won’t want to change a winning squad and nor should they. But you can never write off an Australian side in any sport.
If the rest of the series lives up to the first game then we are in for an epic series. Roll on Melbourne.
In the 2016 Autumn Internationals England will take on Australia in the final match of a four game stretch at Twickenham, and you can see this game in VIP style with our official corporate hospitality packages.
For details on our England v Australia Autumn International hospitality packages please follow the links.