Saracens - Saracens' boys star for England - Match Report

Apr 01, 2016

Saracens' boys star for England - Match Report

England secure first ever win in Brisbane as five Saracens star in 28-39 defeat over the Wallabies.

Following two Australian tries in the first 15 minutes through Michael Hooper and Israel Folau, England scrapped back thanks to four penalties by Owen Farrell and an opportunistic try by Jonathan Joseph to go into half time 13-19 ahead.

The second half saw both teams maintain the pace set in the first, with two more tries apiece, as England were able to keep their lead thanks to a near faultless kicking display by Owen Farrell to ensure the 28-39 victory.

The Wallabies came flying out of the blocks, stretching the England defence with fast ball, and were only denied a try in the third minute thanks to a turnover by Maro Itoje on his own try line.

It was only a temporary respite for England as Israel Folau broke through the midfield in the ninth minute to set up Michael Hooper to score down the blind side after picking up from a ruck. Foley missed the conversion attempt from near the touchline.

Australia continued to maintain their high tempo, with the play making ability of fly half Bernard Foley particularly troubling for England. It was he who managed to drift off the England defence before setting up Israel Folau with a perfectly timed pass to score the Wallabies’ second try of the game after just 15 minutes. Fortunately for England, Foley had forgotten his kicking boots as he again missed the conversion.

As the game approached the second quarter England finally started to burst into life, with Jonathan Joseph breaking down the left hand side to set up Mike Brown who didn’t quite have the pace to outstrip the Aussie defence. But following a few more phases of English possession, Australia were penalised for not rolling away, giving Owen Farrell an easy kick from right in front of the posts to bring the score back to 10-3 after 20 minutes.

This didn’t deter the Australian attack but England were now firmly in the game with the physicality of Maro Itoje a constant nuisance at the breakdown.

England were then awarded another penalty bang in front, following a mistake by Folau as he kicked straight into touch from just outside his 22, as the Wallaby defence drifted offside, allowing Farrell to cut the lead to 4 points.

However, England lost the restart, allowing Foley to sell a dummy and once again carve open the England defence, to touch down in the corner. Upon review though, the TMO deemed that a dummy runner obstructed an English defender so the try was chalked off.

Spurred on by this lucky break, England were again able to gain field position and keep the score board ticking over as Australia were forced to concede another penalty at the breakdown on 30 minutes. A trickier kick this time for Farrell out wide, but the result was never in doubt as the ball sailed through the middle to make the score 10-9.

For Eddie Jones this physical dominance wasn’t enough. So following the 30th minute penalty he brought on George Ford in place of Luther Burrell, shifting Farrell to inside centre to increase England’s playmaking options. But it was Farrell’s defensive presence in the centre that forced a mistake from Foley in his own 22 when he wasn’t able to handle a loose pass just a minute later. Joseph was fastest to respond to the loose ball to hack it ahead before scooping it up to score a try under the posts. Farrell, retaining his kicking duties, slotted the conversion for England to lead 10-16 after 32 minutes.

England managed to maintain the 6 point lead, as the two teams traded penalties off the back of scrums to go into the interval 13-19 ahead.

England were able to keep up their momentum at the start of the second half, even after Farrell missed his only kick of the game from near halfway. But still England scored the first points of the half after 45 minutes, as Haskell made a break from the base of the scrum, setting up Ford to swing a huge pass wide to give Marlon Yarde a clear run in to the try line. Farrell made the extras to increase the lead to 13-26.

England had been dominant in the set piece all game and this came to fruition on 53 minutes as Wallaby prop Sio was shown a yellow card, allowing England to kick for touch deep into Australia’s half. England made the most of this by forcing Australia to drag down their driving maul, allowing Farrell to increase the lead further to 13-29.

If anyone expected to Australian’s to give up after this, they were very wrong. Just moments later they were able to get themselves back into the contest as they were able to spread the field with some great passing, despite being down to 14 men, allowing Michael Hooper to score his second of the game near the right touchline, which Foley is unable to convert.

Farrell and the English pack continued to show their Aussie counterparts how it was done as he was able to slot another 3 points on 66 minutes following a penalty won at the scrum, to make it 18-32.

Back to full strength now, Australia went all–out-attack as they turn down a shot at goal in favour of a scrum. Following a nicely worked backs move off of the scrum, Kuridrani is able to cut inside his man and charge over on 70 minutes. Foley converts from right in front to bring it back to a 7 point game.

With victory back in their sights Australia are able to reduce the deficit further when Foley converts a penalty from the 10 metre line to make it 28-32.

However, as the clock counted down to the 80 minute mark England are able to seal the victory in style following a quick tap and go penalty by Danny Care. After he is pulled down, Ford chips a kick over the top for Nowell to run onto to score as time runs out. Farrell once again slots the extras from out wide to add the cherry on to their highest points tally against Australia and their greatest performance under Eddie Jones.




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