Sydney thriller seals England whitewash

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

If you believe Eddie Jones’s theory that Saturday’s final Test was a World Cup final, it would have rated pretty highly among those deciders, as the Wallabies lost to England, 44-40. 

Thirteen years on from the last one here, there were eerie similarities in a thriller that went the visitors' way off the boot of a man in white, though a few kilometres closer to the heart of Sydney than that 2003 night.

It was an historic night, with Australia losing its first Test at Allianz Stadium since 1995 and suffering its first series whitewash since the Springboks inflicted that pain in 1971.

England inside centre Owen Farrell kicked 24 points on Saturday night, taking his series tally to 66, in a man of the match performance, to cap off a brilliant Australian trip.

While the English came in with the Cook Cup sealed the hunger from both sides was clear from the get go in front of a record 44,063 Allianz Stadium crowd.

Australia had the first penalty but were on the back foot early, with England winger Jack Nowell streaking down the right edge.

England tighthead Dan Cole drew first blood, powering through the Wallabies defence and crashing over in the 11th minute.

Foley had the answer for that in just two minutes, finishing off a blistering Israel Folau run, after the fullback scooped up a loose ball knocked into Dane Haylett-Petty’s knee by England lock Maro Itoje

Matt Toomua was influential for Australia. Photo: Getty Images

Australia’s rigid commitment to flowing rugby finally came to fruition 20 minutes in with Haylett-Petty collecting a Folau pass to score in the right corner in the 20th minute .

A deft Anthony Watson kick duped Haylett-Petty before England fullback Mike Brown beat Tevita Kuridrani to score in the 30th minute and halt the Wallabies’ momentum.

Sean McMahon delivered in the back row, still playing outside his comfort zone, meeting the physical challenge of a monster English backrow.

It was his opposite number, Billy Vunipola, who put England back in the lead just five minutes into the second, though, scoring off the back of a scrum.

The addition of a second playmaker for Australia proved pivotal, with Matt Toomua throwing an inside pass for Israel Folau to put the Wallabies up by four points in the 58th minute, before Farrell sliced that margin back to one.

A comedy of Wallabies errors, including a diving pass from Nick Phipps that barely left the ground, led to a Jamie George try to give the Wallabies a six-point chase with 15 minutes left.

The sides traded penalties in the next five minutes but it was a 78th minute Owen Farrell penalty that put the margin beyond doubt.

Australian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro finished off a late Wallabies charge, with an 83rd minute try to narrow the margin to four points.

Winger Dane Haylett-Petty will be putting some returning Wallabies on notice after a third outstanding performance in his debut series, capping this one off with his first Test try.

Foley was left ruing some missed kicking opportunities, both in-field and in for points, finishing with six from nine.

Lock Rob Simmons’s forgettable series continued with another turn of poor fortune, coming off at half-time with a shoulder injury.

Now the Wallabies return to Super Rugby before a more immediate World Cup rematch against the All Blacks in August.


(Tries: Foley, Haylett-Petty, Hooper, Folau, Naiyaravoro  Cons: Foley 3 Pens: Foley 3 )

England 44

(Tries: Cole, Brown B Vunipola, George Cons: Farrell 3 Pens: Farrell 6)



(Tries: Foley, Haylett-Petty, Hooper, Folau  Cons: Foley 3 Pens: Foley 3 )


(Tries: Cole, Brown B Vunipola, George Cons:Farrell 3 Pens: Farrell 5) 




(Tries: Foley, Haylett-Petty, Hooper, Folau  Cons: Foley 3 Pens: Foley 3 )


(Tries: Cole, Brown B Vunipola, George Cons:Farrell 3 Pens: Farrell 5)