/ Rugby

England 35-18 Australia

Updated: Saturday, 13 Nov 2010 18:07

Toby Flood kicked 25 points as England put the Wallabies to the sword
Toby Flood kicked 25 points as England put the Wallabies to the sword

England may have been dressed in grey but their performance was anything but as Martin Johnson's men stormed to a sensational victory over Australia.

Chris Ashton scored twice and Toby Flood produced a faultless kicking display as England sealed back-to-back victories over the Wallabies for the first time since the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.

Australia had no answer to England's dynamism as Martin Johnson's men roared into a 26-6 lead before Kurtley Beale struck back with two tries for the Wallabies.

But Flood rounded off the victory with two more penalties which carried him and England, who had not beaten a Tri-Nations team at home in four years, into record territory.

Flood's 25 points was the highest individual score in the history of Tests between the two sides. England had never before scored more than 32 points against the Wallabies and this
equalled their largest margin of victory against Australia.

The Rugby Football Union had taken the controversial decision to dress England in a colour officially described as anthracite.

It was a blatant marketing ploy but Johnson will be happy for his men to wear it every week if
the charcoal grey ignites a performance like England produced today.

Twickenham was illuminated by the livewire scrum-half Ben Youngs, who was named man of the match, by the powerful ball-carrying of Nick Easter and Tom Palmer and by Ashton's try-scoring.

As ever, the build-up had been dominated by the anticipated culture clash between England's powerful pack and Australia's lethal back division.

But Johnson had said in the week that the age of winning Tests by "sticking it up your jumper" had passed and England proved today there is more to their game.

There were signs of it in a rousing second-half performance against the All Blacks last weekend but they came too late. Today England tore into the Wallabies from the outset.

Despite their early ambition, which saw breaks from Flood and Mike Tindall, England were fortunate not to fall 6-0 down as O'Connor missed two shots at goal when the Wallabies had barely touched the ball.

But England remained composed, winning a vital lineout in their own 22 and Palmer then put in a huge tackle in midfield to win a turnover.

Youngs combined with Flood and Tindall to launch England upfield. When Tindall eventually was hauled down, Australia conceded the penalty and Flood slotted the points.

England were making yards with every carry, with Easter and Palmer to the fore. And when Beale sliced a clearance into touch, England won clean lineout ball and pounced.

Shontayne Hape crashed across the gainline. Tindall and Mark Cueto carried it on. Tom Croft
collected the popped pass and off-loaded to Ashton, who held off two Australian defenders to score.

O'Connor struck the post with his third shot at goal but he was soon given another chance after England were penalised at the scrum, much to Dan Cole's bemusement.

This time O'Connor, whose last-gasp conversion seal the Wallabies' victory over New Zealand in Hong Kong a fortnight ago, found his radar and Australia were on the board.

But England had their tails up. When Matt Giteau was penalised for holding on, Youngs took a quick tap to launch another counter-attack from inside his own half.

Youngs swapped passes with Flood and then poked a grubber kick through. O'Connor collected but he was immediately swallowed by England defenders who snatched the turnover five metres out.

With Twickenham roaring him on, Croft drove for the line. The England flanker was stopped short but a try was there for taking and Giteau knew it.

The Australian centre stuck a boot in to prevent Youngs from swinging the ball wide. Giteau was sin-binned and Flood accepted the shot at goal, which he landed.

Flood cancelled out O'Connor's second penalty shortly after the restart before Australia mounted their first real assault on the red rose line.

But when Will Genia darted himself he was swallowed up by a combination of Flood, Tindall and Palmer, England snatched the turnover and scored one of the great Twickenham tries.

Youngs spotted the opening and sent Courtney Lawes away down the blindside. The dextrous lock then slipped the pass to Ashton who roared clear to score from 85 metres and send Twickenham into ecstasy.

Ashton still had to beat Drew Mitchell but he stepped inside and out-stripped the Wallaby winger to score under the posts, leaving Flood a simple conversion, and England led 26-6.

Australia found a toe-hold in the game when Beale scored a brilliant individual try, breaking England's line and then chipping over Foden before touching down.

It did nothing to dampen England's confidence. Cueto surged through two tackles straight from the restart and when Nathan Sharpe was penalised for holding on Flood slotted another penalty.

Australia struck again when Hartley missed his jumpers on halfway and Genia's replacement Luke Burgess snatched possession and raced clear before off-loading to prop James Slipper.

Moody hauled the replacement prop down but Australia recycled the ball quickly and Beale crashed over.

But still England tore into the Wallabies, with Cueto scything through their defence, and Flood sealed a famous victory with two more penalties.

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