The Wallabies have been edged out 20-13 in a hard fought Cook Cup encounter against England at Twickenham early Sunday morning (AEDT).
The Wallabies took a 13-6 lead into the half-time break but England came back to score two tries in a nine-minute spell in the second period to turn the match around.
An early mistake from England, soon after the kick-off from Matt Toomua, saw Quade Cooper try to put Adam Ashley-Cooper away with a clever kick, but the ball just beat him into touch.
Israel Folau was then penalised for holding on at the breakdown as he brought back a kick. Lions flyhalf Owen Farrell made no mistake in putting England up 3-0 after four minutes.
The Wallabies were then penalised with a free kick at the first scrum, in what was an ominous sign for the Australian pack.
But a missed throw at the lineout from England gave the Wallabies an opportunity to attack and some good ball movement saw them win a penalty for offside. Cooper levelled it up 3-3 after a tight first ten minutes.
Will Genia was then caught offside giving Farrell a chance to give England back the lead, but surprisingly the usually accurate No.10 missed from wide on the left.
Farrell missed further crucial points near the same spot shortly afterwards from a second scrum penalty against the Wallabies to keep the score at 3-all.
The Wallabies continued to keep the ball in hand, probing the English defence, but a knock on saw a third scrum penalty come to England.
Just as the Wallabies were having troubles at the scrum, England were having issues at the lineout, losing yet another throw-in.
A fourth scrum penalty against the Wallabies gave England another lineout but this time they retained the ball and drove forward to win another penalty attempt from Farrell.
This time the angle was closer but for Farrell missed for a third time.
Toomua cleared but the ball didn’t go into touch and England re-launched their attack. A couple of big runs from giant 20-year-old Billy Vunipola took the ball close to the Wallabies line and they won yet another penalty. This time Farrell was successful and England were up 6-3 on 27 minutes.
A superb long pass from Cooper saw Folau find space, and darting around England winger Chris Ashton, he charged towards the England line.
He was pulled down just short, but a few rucks later the ball came to Toomua who easily got through the tackle of opposite number Billy Twelvetrees to score close to the posts. Cooper converted and the Wallabies found themselves in front 10-6 after half an hour.
Three minutes later Cooper added a second penalty after another Twelvetrees error which gave the Wallabies a 13-6 lead.
Genia gave England a final chance to attack when he overcooked a clearing kick just before half-time, but captain Ben Mowen disrupted the dangerous rolling maul and Irish referee George Clancy blew the whistle for half time.
The second half began as the first had ended with another short-arm scrum penalty to England. But it was Australia who had a chance to go further ahead on 46 minutes.
Blockbusting Brumbies centre, Tevita Kuridrani made a strong run palming off England debutant Joel Tomkins and the ball came to Ashley-Cooper who kicked ahead.
England winger Marland Yarde’s cynical hit on Ashley-Cooper soon after his kick gave Cooper a chance to extend the Wallabies lead, but his attempt from the right scraped the outside of the left hand upright.
Ashley-Cooper then turned hero at the other end stopping Yarde metres short after a threatening run down the left touchline.
Brumbies backrower ,Scott Fardy was then replaced due to injury, which brought on Western Force No.8 Ben McCalman. Sekope Kepu also came on for Ben Alexander as Bernard Foley came on for a blood-bin for Ashley-Cooper, who had been cut making the superb covering-tackle on Yarde.
England took full advantage of the failure for Brown to be called in touch as Genia’s clearing kick was charged down and captain Chris Robshaw fell on the ball to score. Farrell converted and it was all square 13-13 after 50 minutes.
With Lions scrumhalf Ben Youngs now on, England’s attack immediately looked more fluid. They attacked the Wallabies line phase after phase as Australia’s defence remained firm, until Farrell sliced through to score.
An obstruction was noted but not deemed sufficient enough to have affected the play, so the try stood. Farrell converted his own try to put England up 20-13 coming in to the final quarter.
Cooper missed a long range penalty on 65 minutes, which would have narrowed the margin, as McKenzie went to the bench bringing on Nic White for Genia, Benn Robinson for James Slipper, Saia Faingaa for Moore and Kane Douglas for his Waratahs teammate, Sitaleki Timani.
The Wallabies launched a superb counter attack on 72 minutes with Nick Cummins taking it deep into England’s territory. It led to a kickable penalty, but with time running out Toomua opted to kick for touch.
Australia took the lineout just metres from England’s line and looked dangerous as Folau almost stepped through. But a knock on from Robinson on the 8th phase saw the move breakdown. The resulting scrum saw a penalty for England.
A knock on from the home side then gave the Wallabies one last chance to attack from inside their own half, but Kuridrani was held up by Farrell and Tomkins and the ball was turned over.
The match ended with one final scrum penalty to England.
The Wallabies will be hoping more goes their way in the next Spring Tour match as they head to Turin to take on Italy next weekend.