Sunday, June 20, 2010
England returned to Sydney for the first time since their famous 2003 World Cup victory to taste success seven years on as they edged out the Wallabies 21-20, tying up the two Test series at a win apiece.
Center Matt Giteau returned to the Wallaby side to score all 20 of their points, crossing for two great tries, but missed a crucial kick from right out in front with only ten minutes left in the game. One might be tempted to say it was karma at play after he looked to have milked the penalty after minimal contact with English centre Shontayne Hape.
"It's not my proudest moment. But these things happen, you've just got to move forward," Giteau said afterwards.
Earlier in the game Ben Youngs scored a superb individual try as he sniped through the defense, and then Chris Ashton did something similar with his effort.
Jonny Wilkinson came on as a replacement and kicked the deciding penalty as it was ultimately a successful return to Sydney for him. After the game, he said he could relate to the unfortunate missed kick of Giteau.
"There's nothing harder than to stand up each week and take the shots and when that happens, which it does to everyone, it takes even more strength to stand up and go on," Wilkinson said.
"And something he does is stands up and goes on every time. It's just one of those things that happens once in a very very blue moon, and when it does it's tough to take.
"I've done it more times that he has. Fair play to him, he's an enormous professional, an awesome player and he showed that today regardless of whether he kicked another one."
England coach Martin Johnson said the win should answer some critics of his team.
"There's been a lot of negativity around them at times in terms of their ability and what they do on the field so they've been mentally pretty tough to come through that and play well," Johnson said.
"It is really good for the players and coaches. It doesn't happen that often so to win one here is pretty special," he added.