Sunday, November 08, 2009
Australia overcame their first hurdle in an attempt to emulate the class of 84 as they beat England 18-9 at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Wallabies put their poor Tri Nations season behind them as they came back from being 9-5 down at half time with a far better second half showing, with young scrumhalf Will Genia putting in a man of the match performance.
It was an England side buoyed by the return of Jonny Wilkinson, but the Aussies absorbed the pressure then gradually took control of the match.
Coach Robbie Deans was impressed with the patience shown by his side.
I was happy with the way we kept out composure and wore them down," he said.
"The guys didn't become frantic after the missed opportunities and that trust and patience paid off and that's a habit we want to keep."
England have an unprecedented amount of injuries at the moment, with only four of Martin Johnsons team having taken to the field in the corresponding fixture last year.
The form of returning world cup winners Lewis Moody, Steve Thompson, and flyhalf Wilkinson was a positive for the England coach.
"It's great to have them back," said Johnson. "People have asked me all week what Jonny brings to the game and I'd say 'just watch the game' - he's a world class player," he said.
Wilkinson landed a drop goal after three minutes as he signalled his return to the international game in style. He tackled as hard as ever, and at one stage it looked as though he was going to lift the England side to victory.
Australia, with injury concerns of their own, had many opportunities and only needed to capitalise on two of them. Eight points from Matt Giteau and the first half try to Genia, along with a great second half try to Adam Ashley-Cooper, sealed the win.