Freddie Steward scored his first Test try as England enjoyed their eighth successive win against Australia under coach Eddie Jones with a 32-15 victory over the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday.
Steward’s seventh-minute score looked like being the highlight of a scrappy encounter littered with penalties.
But with the last play of the match, England fans in a capacity crowd had another try to cheer when replacement hooker Jamie Blamire crowned a 60-metre move.
England’s remaining points came via six goal-kicks from captain Owen Farrell, making the 100th Test appearance of a career that includes six appearances for the British and Irish Lions. and two from fly-half Marcus Smith, still a novice at international level.
James O’Connor kicked all of Australia’s scores courtesy of five penalties.
Australia’s Tom Wright and Angus Bell were both sent to the sin-bin but England only managed six points in the 20 minutes where they had a man advantage.
This result, however, maintained veteran coach Jones’ 100 per cent record against his native Australia since he was appointed after a 2015 World Cup where the Wallabies’ 33-13 pool victory over England at Twickenham knocked the hosts out of the tournament.
“Australia-England always goes down to the last 20 minutes,” said Jones, Australia’s coach when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England.
“We thought today if we played with enough consistency and intensity, we’d get them in the last 20.”
Victory also set England up for this week’s rematch with South Africa, the team that beat them in the 2019 World Cup final, after the Springboks defeated Scotland 30-15 at Murrayfield earlier on Saturday.
“It’s the last game of autumn, we want to go into the Six Nations with a South African scalp,” said Jones.
‘Too many errors’
Australia coach Dave Rennie had no complaints about the result.
“We’re a lot better team than we put out on the park tonight – there were too many errors and we couldn’t build any pressure,” the New Zealander said after a defeat that followed Australia’s 15-13 loss to Scotland the previous week.
O’Connor kicked the Wallabies into a third-minute lead with a 40-metre penalty before England responded in style four minutes later.
Smith, in just his third Test and first against a major nation, delivered a superbly delayed pass to the onrushing Steward.
England’s towering No 15 had work to do but he left his opposite number Kurtley Beale in his slip-stream with a superb side-step before bursting clear of the Wallaby veteran for a try converted by Farrell.
“It’s an incredible experience,” Steward told Amazon Prime. “Running out in front of 80,000 here, it’s the stuff of dreams.
“Marcus was brilliant, he put me through the gap, I dived over and it was just elation.”
Fly-half O’Connor’s third penalty cut the hosts’ lead to four points.
England, gaining dominance up front, twice came close to a second try before half-time but Henry Slade’s poor pass to wing Jonny May squandered a two-on-one overlap.
England hooker Jamie George, whose earlier charging run had been ended by Wright’s high tackle, then powered over from a driving maul only for Australia scrum-half Nic White to make a try-saving challenge.
Australia, despite being a man down, scored next through O’Connor’s fourth penalty to leave England 16-12 ahead at half-time.
O’Connor’s fifth penalty cut England’s lead to just a single point early in the second half.
But that was as close as Australia got.
Prop Bell was yellow carded in the 48th minute for a dangerous tackle on Courtney Lawes and England went on to score 16 unanswered points.
The Wallabies suffered a further setback when captain and star back-row Michael Hooper limped off in the 55th minute.
England finished in style with Sam Simmonds grabbing a loose ball and charging down the left wing before releasing Blamire for a try.