Australia 40-44 England: third rugby union Test match – as it happened

Last modified: 12: 33 PM GMT+0
  • Australia 40-44 England
  • England complete 3-0 series whitewash

That was a whirlwind of a game for the live blogger and I’m spent. Sorry I couldn’t get to your late flurry of emails and tweets. Don’t you hate it when the game gets in the way of your correspondence?

Wallabies fans will be smarting, no doubt, but I’m sure most will find admiration for this England side, one that came, saw and conquered. After the Brexit, never mind the stunning de-crowning of Miss Great Britain, this result will no doubt put a smile on many faces that are in desperate need of one.

I’ll leave you with Robert Kitson’s match report. Fare well, dear readers, and cheerio.


For the first time since 1971 the Wallabies have lost their first three matches of the calendar year. Having made the World Cup final I can’t say many would have expected such a flat start to 2016. But England deserve enormous credit. They’ve outplayed Australia comprehensively.

Tonight’s game, though free-flowing, wasn’t really a classic. There were too many mistakes and sloppy moments (and, possibly, points) for that. But it sure was entertaining.

Farrell is man of the match, by the way, and now Hartley is on the dais accepting the Cook Cup. He graciously thanks his hosts and praises his team for completing their goal of winning 3-0. “We go again, boys, we go again!”


Dylan Hartley now, beaming brightly to the point you barely notice his ears, which wouldn’t look out of place in an aloo gobi. “Obviously very happy with the tour. We can all agree it wasn’t out perfect game today but we put everything into it, it was our last 80 minutes of the season. I’m really proud of the guys. And we’ve made history.”

Stephen Moore: “It’s been a tough series, and you can’t give up 44 points and expect to win a game... We’ve got to keep belief. To England’s credit they deserved it. They played well and we weren’t quite good enough.”

Don’t look now, Stephen, but the All Blacks await.


Schalk van der Merwe, en route to Cape Town, will be delighted. “Following your updates ... from an Emirates flight 30 000 feet in the sky. Go ENGLAND...”

Time to celebrate. Order some more in-flight peanuts!

David Bradley puts it out there: “[This] must be one of England’s greatest sporting achievements ever. Not really a big rugby fan but fantastic for English rugby.”


Full-time: Australia 40-44 England

Foley drags his conversion attempt left of the posts and that’s the game! A lazy 84 points in it and England have whitewashed the Wallabies.

Try! Australia 40-44 England (Naiyaravoro 80 + 1 min)

Naiyaravoro catches it and there’s no stopping him from there, earning a consolation try that will offer the Wallabies no consolation at all.

80 min The Wallabies regain the ball after England fail to hold possession and a scrum is called as the final siren sounds.

Australia win the ball and move the ball to the right wing, then back towards the left. Foley gets himself close to the England line before Phipps picks up from the back of the ruck and rifles a ball to Naiyaravoro standing inside the left corner post.

Penalty! Australia 35-44 England (Farrell 80)

Bread, butter, and jam for Farrell who puts England nine points clear! And that’s the game!

78 min From an England lineout on the Wallabies 22 England build through a dozen or so phases of one-out running, the kind that eats minutes on a clock. On phase 12 the Wallabies, desperate for the ball, are penalised when Phipps steps over the ruck taking out Care. It’s 35m out, right in front.

76 min Vunipola off for Daly as time begins to run out for the Wallabies.


73 min Australia find touch on the England 22. England win the lineout and get rid of the ball in the manner you’d get rid of a hand grenade with the pin pulled out of it.

Haylett-Petty soon returns the kick. Brown kicks it back. Haylett-Petty does the same. Perhaps it is an unexploded hand grenade.


Penalty! Australia 35-41 England (Foley 72)

Australia back within a converted try. Eight minutes to go. Going on what we’ve seen, time for plenty more points.

71 min From the kickoff Australia swarm on Brown and force a loose ball. England dive on it but are penalised for not releasing. This is right in front and Foley will take the certain three points on offer.

Penalty! Australia 32-41 England (Farrell 70)

That’s 21 points for Farrell tonight, his long-range penalty attempt never looking like missing.


69 min Australia force a few passes and turn it over. They look a little rattled, Australia.

Conversion! Australia 32-38 (Farrell 68)

Farrell puts England out to a [counts on fingers] six point lead.

Try! Australia 32-36 England (George 67)

Jamie George is over! What a comedy of errors in the lead-up. Phipps picked up a loose ball facing his own posts and passed into Folau’s boots. England regained possession and Itoje drove ever so close to the line before England recycled. Danny Care then passed left to George and the ball hit George’s knees and was propelled into the in-goal. George followed through to score his first Test try!


65 min England building momentum and find touch 15m out from the Wallabies’ line. Polota-Nau to take it from the spot where Moore threw straight to Robshaw early in the second half. No such error this time.


64 min England pinch the ball in midfield and they shift it left. From Ford to Farrell to Watson, and the winger has a sliver of daylight in front of him. Enough to get the crowd on its feet. But Foley pulls the blinds, bundling Watson into touch.

63 min There’s another penalty for England for Australia not rolling away. Nice pressure release for England, that one, as they were metres out from their own line.

Jonathan Dowson writes: “This game is sounding like a classic end to end Test match….. sadly I’m working the nightshift and it’s not on in the office.”

Not on in the office? What kind of Dickensian hellhole do you work in?

Penalty! Australia 32-England 31 (Farrell 62)

On the Australia 40m line Australia, at the breakdown, give away their third straight penalty. Farrell makes them pay.

Conversion! Australia 32-28 (Foley 58)

Not a tough one for Foley but he makes no mistake all the same.

This game has become so breathless that I suddenly have no time to copy in all these emails I begged for! Sorry!

Try! Australia 30-28 England (Folau 57)

That was too easy! Australia pass laterally along the England 22 with nothing seemingly on. But Toomua steps off his right and he brushes out of Billy Vunipola’s tackle. Folau looms up on his left shoulder like a sports car and he outpaces the cover defence to score.


57 min The Wallabies put together 11 phases, slowly working their way towards the England 22...

Oh, there’s a crowd of 44,065. Apparently a ground record!

Conversion! Australia 25-28 England (Farrell 56)

As Farrell lines up, “Swing low, sweet chariot” floats across the ground. Farrell drills his kick and England retake the lead.

54 min England make two changes, Youngs and Robshaw off for an early shower, replaced by Care and Clifford.

And from a scrum on the Aussie 22 the Wallabies are penalised for not driving square. Farrell with the penalty attempt...

Conversion! Australia 25-25 England (Foley 53)

And Foley steers it over to level the scores.


Try! Australia 23-25 England (Hooper 52)

It just touched the chalk and a try is awarded! Hooper had no right to score that.


51 min Possible try to Australia! Phipps zips right, draws Itoje, and offloads to Hooper running an angled line back inside. Hooper is hit by three tacklers but he wiggles and wriggles and reaches out to place the tip of the ball just on, or just short of, the line.

49 min Toomua breaches the England left-side defence and then Coleman, like a rampaging giraffe, gallops into the England 22. Youngs brings him down and though the ball comes loose the first knock-on is called against England.

Australia scrum 8m out.


Penalty! Australia 18-25 England (Farrell 48)

From 35m out and straight in front, Farrell puts England a converted try ahead.

47 min But he’ll get another kick in a second after the Wallabies are penalised for pulling down an England maul.

46 min Farrell misses to the right from the right touchline. He’s human.

Try! Australia 18-22 (B. Vunipola 44)

From a scrum a few metres out the Wallabies steel themselves for a shove ... but Vunipola catches them offguard, picks the ball up from the back of the scrum and scoots down the blindside to dive over despite the cover tackle of Hooper and Haylett-Petty!


44 min England almost score! From a Wallaby line-out on their own try line Stephen Moore throws it over Coleman and straight into the arms of a charging Robshaw. He looks certain to score but gold jerseys converge on him and, though he gets over the line, he’s held up!

42 min Coleman gets into the action, taking a ball from his fellow twin tower, Skelton. Slipper then burrows a little deeper before Foley attempts a cheeky midfield grubber for Hooper sprinting through the line. Nowell is on to it, however, and he cleans up.

An England kick then hits the overhead wires, I presume the ones the overhead camera runs along. Not an internet wire that a dodgy electrician installed.


41 min Here we go, Foley gets us going ... 40 mins remaining in this already successful England tour.

And Coleman is on for the Wallabies.

An email! Lee Garnham is wishing he/she was watching this game, but she’s settling for this MBM. Good to have you aboard, Lee.

Enjoying the game, people? Drop me a line. Haven’t heard a peep tonight. Is that email address up to the job, I wonder. Try this one:

Half-time: Australia 18-17 England

Phew, quite a bit of to and fro don’t you think? It’s certainly more open than the first and second Tests. Anyone’s game.


Penalty! Australia 18-17 (Foley 40 + 1 min)

And with the last action of the half, Foley gives Australia the most slender of leads.


40 min Australia push into England’s half through Skelton, Folau and Slipper as the siren goes. McMahon finds half a yard, Haylett-Petty finds 10 more on the right wing. Then a cross-field kick is aimed for Folau who out jumps Nowell a few metres out from England’s line — but as he falls to earth the ball is dislodged and lost. Had he stayed on his feet he would have taken some stopping.

But we’re going back for an off-side penalty and Foley will kick from 20m out, five metres to the right of the posts.


38 min A nice touch finder by Ford takes play from the England 22 to 35m out from the Aussie line.

After winning the lineout Australia sweep left but Vunipola pilfers the ball like a bully pinching sweets! England settle through six phases but then, on the edge of the Wallabies’ 22, Youngs throws a suspect short ball that makes the crowd groan. Yes, says the referee, it was forward.

37 min Fardy bumps and grinds over the England 22 but an Itoje knee knocks the ball out of Foley’s hands at the back of a ruck and a knock-on is called.

36 min The Wallabies have the ball in hand again and a chip over the top is caught by Billy Vunipola. Just as well, too, as Folau was bearing down on it.


34 min Foley’s kick from 35m out shaves the outside of the left upright. Australia never seem to have the quality of goal-kicker that the northern hemisphere nations seem to routinely possess. That’s five dropped points for the Wallabies tonight through missed kicks.

33 min It’s end to end stuff here... now the Wallabies are awarded a kickable penalty from a late Cole tackle on Foley.

Conversion! Australia 15-17 England (Farrell 31)

From the left touchline, Farrell nails it. Too good, that man.

Try! Australia 15-15 England (Brown 30)

... and he drags two tacklers over the line! Great try! And Brown gets up after scoring with a look of part joy, part anger. Janger?


29 min Youngs dances through a weak tackle and is suddenly in space within the Australia 22, but the space closes much faster than that garbage compacter in Star Wars.

But moments later, Youngs takes play down the blind side, Watson kicks inside off the outside of his right boot and Mike Brown catches a room service bounce...

28 min From the kickoff Skelton takes out Anthony Watson as the England winger leaps to catch the re-start. It looks bad, and he did take him out in the air, but after a replay you can see Skelton is clearly looking at the ball the whole time. Still, his arm — which is about the size of a 5-year-old child — drags Watson down while he was in the air.

Penalty England.


Penalty! Australia 15-10 (Foley 27)

From 20m out, Foley, facing his own face on the giant screen, drills it straight and true.

27 min Australia march down the other end and are awarded a penalty of their own straight from the kick-off when England fail to release the ball.

Penalty! Australia 12-10 England (Farrell 25)

And over it goes.

24 min Australia’s scrum caves in and England are awarded a penalty that Farrell could throw over with his eyes closed. He resists the temptation, however...

24 min England are full of running and a few big runs takes them to Australia’s 22. Ford and Youngs are marshalling their forwards well.

And now we’ll pack it down for a scrum after an Australian knock-on.

22 min Foley’s conversion attempt swings across the face.

Not quite the England defence of last week, then, the type English poets will one day write epic poems about. I dare say Pam Ayers has already started one.

Try! Australia 12-7 England (Haylett-Petty 21)

After a few neat pick and rolls, the Wallabies draw England into the middle. Then they spin it right, putting it through the hands. Folau catches, straightens up, then offloads to an unmarked Haylett-Petty who dives over for his first Test try!


19 min England are pinned into their own 22 by some solid Wallabies’ defence and Ben Youngs, picking up from a ruck, spills the ball before clearing it into touch. The Wallabies have a line-out 10m out.

17 min The Wallabies come close to a second! Playing short down the left wing the Aussies open up after 10 phases and it’s Hooper on the left flank in space! His pass back inside to Foley isn’t a good one, however, and Foley can’t drag it in. Had he done so he may have had a crack at the England line.


Conversion! Australia 7-7 England (Foley 14)

Foley converts his own try from right in front.

Try! Australia 5-7 England (Foley 13)

After much video work, a try is awarded. The ball was knocked to ground by Itoje. Australia hit straight back!


13 min Folau claims a midfield bomb on the half and it leads to Haylett-Petty shuffling the ball back to him after it hit the ground. Was it forward? Was there a knock-on? Either way, Australia play on and Folau runs down the left wing, offloads to Toomua, he draws the fullback, and Foley backs up to score what could be a try.


Conversion! Australia 0-7 England (Farrell 12)

From just wide of the right upright Farrell adds the extras. Some great work by Youngs in the lead up to that try.


Try! Australia 0-5 England (Cole 11)

Cole, from two metres out, charges over the line! What a start for England!


11 min England come again, a few huge runs denting the Wallabies’ wall. Mako Vunipola, now, busts through and is bound for the try-line until brought down in a manner that makes me think of lions hauling a wildebeest to ground. What a run. A phase later...

9 min Joseph and then Nowell make dangerous inroads and suddenly England breach Australia’s 22 with the defence at sixes and sevens. But Ben Youngs’ attempt at an off-load is intercepted, averting danger for the Australians.


8 min Now Will Skelton is penalised for not rolling away. Given his Baby Huey dimensions, that can’t be an easy thing to do.

7 min On the next scrum Dan Cole is penalised for dropping his arm. Oh dear... Foley, looking for distance, fails to find touch.

6 min The first scrum of the match; 347kg vs 347kg. And before Phipps can get the ball in the referee blows his whistle, a short-arm penalty to England.

Things happen inside these scrums of which we mortals know nothing. But at least they are known unknowns; unlike many other things I’m too thick to not know I know nothing about.

5 min A kicking duel! Foley kicks deep to Nowell and he replies with afters, his booming kick finding touch metres out from the Wallabies’ line. But the Wallabies get the ball back into play in a jiffy.

3 min After a few forward forays Toomua finds Folau on the left and he skip-steps back inside, but there’s no great penetration from Australia and they resort to a kick.

On the counter Owen Farrell charges down the right flank and chews up a good 20m before being brought down.


1 min And we’re off and racing, Ford’s drop-kick falling into the meaty hands of Cole. And on the half England turn it over, Hooper picks up the scraps and Australia are awarded an early penalty.

George Ford has the ball in hand...

As the Welcome to Country address takes place we get a shot of England skills coach, Glen Ella, in the England box wearing a lily-white tracksuit top emblazoned with the red rose. Can’t get used to that.

The anthems are now taking place, both teams arm in arm, swaying with nervous energy. Must be a spine-tingling moment as a player.


Here come England, brexiting (sorry) the sheds. They get a decent reception from what is expected to be a full house.

The Wallabies keep them waiting for a mere minute. On they come, three changes to the starting side from last week: Will Skelton, Rob Simmons and Matt Toomua.

On the Wallabies’ bench, by the way, is debutant Adam Coleman from Tasmania. He’s a big fella; 204cm, 122kg. Works as an electricity pylon in his spare time.

Cheika and many of the Wallabies have just featured in a promo insisting there is no such thing as a dead rubber. We’ll see. I can’t help but think it must affect you — though in this case perhaps England more than Australia.

The weather in Sydney? Cool (10 degrees C) but dry. The Wallabies will be hoping for better handling tonight.

Here’s a match report from the New Zealand win over Wales.

Michael Cheika is on the tele saying that “pride is on the line” and that the team’s main focus is “being more accurate” and finishing off the job. “We’re not going to stop playing rugby and being bold.”

Eddie Jones says England have had a good week’s preparation in Coogee where “the locals have been kind to us”. Will England chance their arm? “We’ll attack where the space is.” [Insert enigmatic smile]

Looking good out there:

15 mins to kick off Come on England let's have 3-0. #AUSvENG

— Stuppsy (@stuppsy) June 25, 2016

Predictions, folks?

I think Matt Toomua gives Australia an extra dimension, but England just seem to have a harder edge. It’s a more “boring” edge, according to random pejorative generator, David Campese, but I think it will get the job done here tonight.

I wonder how upset England were to hear what Campese thought about their style of play? I’m sure it’s spoiled their tour. At least they have the Cook Cup to collect their tears.

Here’s a little more of Robert Kitson’s preview:

Add in the sight of an Australian, Eddie Jones, guiding England onwards and upwards with help from Glen Ella, Andrew Johns and, earlier this year, George Smith and it further increases the need for the hosts to hit back hard. Toomua is also keen to show Leicester they have made a smart signing. “We speak a lot about identity and not fearing failure,” he said. “By no means are we going out there thinking it could be 3-0.

“All credit to England – they have definitely been the better team in the first two games – but we have got an opportunity to show who we are and what we are about. It’s about putting in a good performance and being quite specific about how we do that.

“England hustle very well so quite often you’re presented with a packed defensive line. So we have to be better at the breakdown but also in our variety of attack such as kicking with width, because sometimes we only occupied three quarters of the field.

“It’s no secret we like to play with the ball and if you narrow the field it’s a lot easier to defend.”

It is a very good analysis but Toomua also knows the Wallabies need to buck the gloomy local mood. “I guess in the aftermath of last weekend it is low. They are the No2 team in the world and if we were in that situation we would be wanting 3-0 as well,” he said.

“It is fair to say our pride has been dented. But look at England after their World Cup. They came back and won eight in a row, so it can change quickly”. The Wallabies will be praying he is right.

England, of course, are going for an unprecedented 3-0 whitewash of Australia tonight. The All-Blacks have just completed their own 3-zip series win against Wales with a 46-6 romp.

Read Dan Lucas’ live-blog here:

Here are tonight’s teams. ‘For real’, as my kids would say:


Your Qantas #Wallabies team to face England in the third and final Test. #AUSvENG #StrongerAsOne

— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) June 25, 2016


Your England team to play #AUS in Sydney on Saturday 🌹
▪ K.O 11:00 BST
@SkySports 1


— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 23, 2016

Eddie Jones has said tonight’s game is the “most important game we’ll play all year”. From this point on, perhaps, but he’s kidding if it’s more important than last week’s. The series has been won, this game is icing on the cake.

Still, his intention is surely to ensure his team becomes as hard-nosed and ruthless as the best — the All Blacks. They don’t let up when they’ve secured a series with a game to play. In fact, they drive the lance deeper. No doubt that’s the kind of mindset Jones wants England to have and to hold. Dylan Hartley said as much this week:

“I want to be remembered this week as a winner ... We want to be the best team in the world. The best team in the world doesn’t win two games and then clock off in the last one. They win three games. I don’t want to go on holiday next week with a loss.”

Wallabies vice-captain Rob Horne, meanwhile, says his team want to re-inspire all Australians to be proud of the gold jersey.

Maybe it will help if England play in these positions:

That awkward moment when the Daily Telegraph prints the @EnglandRugby team with rugby league numbering... #AUSvENG

— Sunil Awasthi (@sa9321) June 25, 2016


The Aussies can’t take a trick. An omen?

England have won the coin toss. #StrongerAsOne #AUSvENG

— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) June 25, 2016


Hello! Whether you’re reading this from Disappointment Hill in Western Australia, Nether Wallop in Hampshire, or any parish in-between, welcome to this live blog of the third and final Test of the 2016 Cook Cup between Australia and England.

I must say it’s hard to know exactly how tonight’s game will play out. With England having won the two previous encounters, in Brisbane and Melbourne, this Test, to be played in Sydney, is, if you’ll excuse my French, a dead rubber. What effect will that have on the outcome? Having claimed their first ever series win in Australia — and surely having celebrated that fact with few cheeky half pints and a round of low fat crisps — will England be sated and thus vulnerable to a Wallabies side smarting from making history for all the wrong reasons?

The Wallabies will certainly be disappointed with how this series has played out. Off their game in Brisbane — a fact put down to rustiness as they hadn’t played since October — they had hoped to bounce back in Melbourne. But on wet grass and shifting sands they came up against a impenetrable, barbarian-repelling wall, the kind we haven’t seen since Hadrian put down his trowel and declared, “Tha’ should keep them bleedin’ foxes out of me ’en ’ouse!”

It must be said, the Wallabies did themselves no favours with the kind of handling you’d expect from cheap-as-chips furniture removalists. No sooner would they manoeuvre themselves into a good position than someone would drop the ball. I put that down to the Wallabies runners taking nervous looks at the mean England defenders. Still, the Wallabies enjoyed about 70% possession yet it wasn’t enough to win. That, again, speaks volumes for England’s effort.

Michael Cheika, midweek, said Australia wouldn’t be abandoning its philosophical belief in running rugby despite the failures of the past two Tests. Fair play, too. Knee-jerk reactions are not what we need in a rugby coach, and when the Aussies click they click like well-oiled shears. It was my feeling, however, that they went wide too early too often, before drawing in the England wide men.

Meantime, England’s Eddie Jones — who, treasonous as it may seem to his fellow Australians, has transformed the England team from the pool ponies they were at the World Cup — has primed his side for a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to whitewash the Wallabies in their own backyard and, at the same time, make fools of the Australian press, who he said are “not so smart” now.

I never said I was all that smart, so I assume he doesn’t mean me.

Anyway, welcome once again, and, if you’re of a mind, drop me a line ( Predictions? Thoughts on the meaning of life? And will the UK’s Brexit trigger a renewal of the Commonwealth and a return to the glory days when every bar-person in London was either an Australian or a Kiwi?

Kick-off: 8pm local (11am UK time).


Paul will be here shortly; in the interim have a squizz at this yarn by Robert Kitson detailing some of the missing men of this Wallabies squad.


Paul Connolly

The GuardianTramp

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