Wallabies beat England 20-14
Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe is congratulated by coach Robbie Deans. AP Image/Dave Hunt
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans knocked back the opportunity to give his critics a spray after his side’s gallant 20-14 win over England at Twickenham.
Deans was under enormous pressure entering the contest in front 81,361 fans on Saturday after France thumped Australia 33-6 the previous weekend in Paris.
It prompted several critics to fire off at Deans, including Wallabies’ legend David Campese who said Deans should be sacked for destroying Australian rugby.
Deans was cheekily asked at the post-match press conference if Campese had been in touch.
The coach stayed silent before he was then asked about the significance of the victory given the pressure he and his men were under after the France game.
But Deans turned the focus off himself and onto the players.
“Any result at Twickenham is significant, it doesn’t come easily here,” Deans said.
“We’re very pleased for the lads and the way they played.
“They played, not me, as I’ve said before.
“It was obviously a much better effort than last week and it had to be. A big part of the adjustment was probably mental to be fair.”
“Paris is a bit alluring like that and in Test footy you’ve got to turn up or you get put away.”
Australia repelled raid after raid in a tryless second half with all their points in the second term coming from the boot of fullback Berrick Barnes, who kicked three penalty goals.
Barnes kicked four penalties for the night and a first-half field goal for a personal tally of 15 points.
Of great relief to the Wallabies was the fact they broke a two-Test scoring drought when Nick Cummins crashed over in the 35th minute.
The big Western Force winger finished off a near 55-metre effort after halfback Nick Phipps ghosted through some feeble England left edge defence.
Australia only led for a few minutes before giant Samoan-born centre Manusamoa Tuilagi scored out wide to make it 14-11 at the halftime break.
The Wallabies’ much-maligned scrum enjoyed a points victory over England with prop Ben Alexander outstanding on his return from injury.
Alexander hopelessly out-played England loose head Joe Marler who was warned by French referee Romain Poite a couple of times for poor binds.
Man of the match, Australia’s No.7 Michael Hooper, who was a constant menace at the breakdown, said the Wallabies’ scrum was immense.
“That was such a confidence booster for our tight five, our scrum was very good tonight,” he said.
From the outset the Wallabies were brutal at the breakdown with hitmen Sitaleki Timani and Wycliff Palu throwing their weight around.
Ben Tapuai was another standout, having a superb game in his first Test as a No.12 and his fifth cap for Australia overall.
Hooper admits the Wallabies were in need of a lift.
“It puts us back in a great frame of mind for the rest of the tour. To come out with a performance like that shows the character of this team,” he said.
England coach Stuart Lancaster praised Australia’s performance but said it was a hard loss to cop after his side squandered countless opportunities in the second half.
“For us, we are absolutely devastated we lost that game,” he said.
“I thought Australia played quite a smart game and put us under some pressure with some chips over the top … They went hard at the breakdown to stop out quick ball.”
Australia prevented England from making it three straight Cook Cup wins.© AAP 2014