returning-farrell-helps-england-see-off-australia

Returning Farrell helps England see off Australia

Farrell kicked five penalties and two conversions after missing the opening match of the autumn; Freddie Steward and Jamie Blamire grabbed tries for England, with Marcus Smith adding two conversions; James O’Connor kicked all of Australia’s points

Last Updated: 13/11/21 7:50pm

    Owen Farrell kicked five penalties and a conversion in England's win over Australia

    Owen Farrell kicked five penalties and a conversion in England’s win over Australia

    Owen Farrell kicked 17 points on his return to action to help England to a dogged 32-15 win over Australia in their Autumn Nations Series clash at Twickenham on Saturday evening.

    Man-of-the-match Freddie Steward’s first try for England and the kicking of captain Farrell had the hosts in front at half-time, but James O’Connor’s four penalties ensured the lead was just 16-12 despite the Wallabies having had Tom Wright in the sin-bin.

    Fly-half O’Connor added another soon after the restart, but Farrell and Marcus Smith both kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side before replacement hooker Jamie Blamire raced away to score on the final play of the game as they extended their winning running against Australia to eight matches.

    Eddie Jones will no doubt have been pleased to put one over on his homeland again too, but there were some concerns for the head coach ahead of next week’s match against world champions South Africa as both Jamie George and Farrell were forced off injured.

    For the second week in a row, England had to make a Covid-19-enforced change to their announced starting XV as Ellis Genge’s positive test saw Bevan Rodd – who only linked up with the squad earlier in the week after Joe Marler was ruled out for the same reason – handed his first Test start.

    Jones sprang a surprise by naming Manu Tuilagi on the wing too, although Farrell’s return after missing the 69-3 win over Tonga due to what later transpired to be a false positive Covid-19 test did mean the head coach was finally able to try out the 12-10 combination of the captain and fly-half Marcus Smith from the start of a game.

    As it was, newcomer Rodd’s first action of the match saw him pinged for obstruction which allowed James O’Connor to kick the Wallabies ahead inside the first five minutes, but barely two minutes later two more of England’s new generation combined to put the hosts in front.

    Freddie Steward capped a man-of-the-match display with his first England try

    Freddie Steward capped a man-of-the-match display with his first England try

    Great work from Courtney Lawes and Sam Underhill in the build-up put them in a good position, and then full-back Steward ran a superb line to take a patient pass from Harlequins man Smith and sliced through a gap in the defence to race away for his first international try which was also converted.

    Farrell and O’Connor then swapped two penalty goals each, but Australia found themselves a man down on 28 minutes when winger Wright was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Jamie George following a powerful run from the England hooker.

    Once again, Farrell kicked the resulting penalty and then it needed a fantastic piece of defence from Nic White to prevent George scoring a try after the hosts had kicked to touch following another infringement, knocking the ball from the Saracens man’s grasp as he dived over the line.

    Indeed, the home side were unable to further capitalise on the period they had the man advantage for and O’Connor’s fourth penalty of the match just before half-time ensured Australia were just four points behind as the teams headed back into the changing rooms.

    Tom Wright was one of two Australia players sent to the sin-bin

    Tom Wright was one of two Australia players sent to the sin-bin

    George was then forced off at half-time, being replaced by Jamie Blamire, and further indiscipline from England allowed the visitors to cut the gap to just one point after O’Connor made it five from five with the boot three minutes into the second half.

    Australia’s defence then had to come to the fore after losing the ball at a line-out on the edge of their 22, scrambling to prevent Jonny Hill getting it down over the line after the second row had gained possession and set off on a rampaging run.

    A second yellow card, this time to prop Angus Bell in the 48th minute after a dangerous tackle on Lawes, left the Wallabies facing another 10-minute period down to 14 men and Farrell kicked the resulting penalty to give England a bit of breathing space.

    The skipper then saw a 54th-minute effort go wide of the mark, but when England drew a penalty at the scrum after Australia were back to their full complement the 30-year-old made no mistake – only to hobble off the field with a left-ankle injury with 12 minutes to go to be replaced by Max Malins.

    Jamie Blamire celebrates his last-play try for England

    Jamie Blamire celebrates his last-play try for England

    Smith took over the kicking duties in his absence and made no mistake from 35 metres out with eight minutes to go to edge England closer to victory.

    Then, just as the clock ticked past 80 minutes, replacements Sam Simmonds and Blamire combined to put some gloss on the result as the former sent the later racing away for his fourth try in as many matches – making a bit of history by becoming the first England forward to achieve such a feat.