England cruise in second half
England completed a highly satisfying November series with a crushing four-try victory over a ragged Australia on Saturday, claiming a record sixth successive win in the 50th meeting of the old sporting rivals.
England had much the better of the first half but could add only two Owen Farrell penalties to Jonny May’s early score and Australia, who barely mustered an attack in the first half-hour, somehow reached the break at 13-13 after an excellent try by Israel Folau and two penalties for Matt To’omua.
It was one-way traffic in the second half though, as superb tries by Elliot Daly and Joe Cokanasiga took England clear and Owen Farrell capped it off four minutes from the end before Folau got a consolation try.
The result followed wins for England over South Africa and Japan and a one-point defeat by New Zealand but capped a dire year for Australia, who have now lost 11 of their last 15 matches.
Afterwards, Australia coach Michael Cheika accepted that England deserved their victory but was incensed at what he called the “ludicrous decision” not to penalise Farrell for a no-arms tackle on Izack Rodda at the end of the first half.
The referee ruled that Rodda had been the man dropping his shoulder as he bore down on the tryline and awarded a penalty for an earlier offence, which Australia kicked to end the half at 13-13.
“I want to make it clear obviously that England were the better team and deserved to win so I don’t want it to be seen like a carry-on,” Cheika said of the incident that Clive Woodward said should have been a penalty try.
“But the justification that Rodda tried to take him on with his shoulder is ludicrous. That’s what you do when you carry the ball.”
Cheika said that the referees’ meeting he attended two weeks ago decided that a similar shoulder-first tackle by Farrell at the end of their win over South Africa three weeks ago, which was also ruled legal, should have been penalised.