Gutsy Wallabies snap losing streak against England

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Australia has halted an eight-match losing run against England, winning the first Test 30-28 in Perth, despite playing the entire second half with only 14 men.

The Wallabies were dealt a blow when lock Darcy Swain was shown a red card for a head-butt during a try-less first half.

They trailed 14-9 in the second half but three tries — all converted — saw the Wallabies establish a 16-point lead.

England responded in the shadows of full-time with two converted tries but it was not enough to deny the Wallabies their first win over their rivals since 2015.


Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper told Stan Sport at full-time that his side “had to dig deep,” in what was likely the biggest understatement you rre likely to hear about a wild match at Perth Stadium.

The Wallabies’ task of winning the first of three Tests was made harder before the teams ran out for the anthems when fly half Quade Cooper was ruled out during the warm-up as a result of a calf injury.

Then a sickening arm injury to Tom Banks and a head knock to Allan Allalatoa meant the Wallabies were three men down very early.

“You can’t script that stuff,” Hooper said.

“You can do all these plans and whatever and then they go out the window, you can’t plan for that one tonight.

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“I’m really proud of our guys, proud of the effort they put in.”

Owen Farrell and Cooper’s last-minute replacement Noah Lolesio were the only point scorers in a staccato first half, alternating penalty kicks to send the two teams into the sheds at 6-6.

England’s faltering backline almost combined to send Joe Marchant over in the corner but for a stunning tackle by Marika Koriobete.

England centre Joe Marchant is tackled by Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete.(AP: Gary Day)

Swain’s brain fade five minutes before the break though — after an altercation with Jonny Hill that saw the Englishman sin-binned — made it seem certain that England would be odds on to convert its superior first-half possession into points after the break.

That proved prophetic when Ellis Genge burrowed over from close range to open up a five-point lead.

However, the Wallabies hit back instantly though Jordan Petaia, who finished a superb move in the corner.

The Wallabies again showed the English how to move the ball though hands when Folau Fainga’a crossed shortly after Billy Vunipola was sent to the sin-bin for a high shot on Hooper.

Pete Samu then scored to cap a magnificent quarter-hour period in which the Wallabies scored 21 unanswered points.

With the game out of sight, England finally clicked, scoring twice through debutants Harry Arundell and Jack van Poorvliet, who took advantage of the extra space created by Lolesio’s late sin-binning.

A male England Test rugby player holds the ball as he makes a run against Australia.
Tom Curry looks to attack for England against the Wallabies.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

England skipper Courtney Laws said there was plenty for England to improve on ahead of next week’s second Test in Brisbane.

“[We] probably didn’t execute as we should have and that left us behind on the scoreboard,” Laws said.

“When they got some attacking opportunities they finished them and that was the difference in the end.

“We’re disappointed but we didn’t give up. We’re still learning as a squad, there are a lot of positives to take away.”

Look back on how the action unfolded in our blog.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

Wallabies beat England in opening Test


Right, that will just about do us this evening.

Thanks for being with us For a memorable victory from the Wallabies, who were simply superb in dealing with all the adversity that came their way, and there was plenty of it.

England were misfiring at best for me, but the good thing for the tourists is that they’ll have the chance to put what they showed in the final two minutes into play for the full 80 over the next two weeks, which should set up an intriguing series.

I’ll be back next weekend at Lang Park for that one, I hope you’ll join me then.

By Simon Smale

Samu Kerevi is the man of the match

He’s speaking to Stan Sport.

“It was a massive team effort … the boys dug deep,” he says.

“We didn’t get much ball [in the first half] and our discipline let us down.

“Go go down at 6-all was a positive.”

He says the message at half time was for the backs to be more direct in the second half.

By Simon Smale

‘You can’t script that stuff’: Michael Hooper

Here’s Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper.

“We had to dig deep, we had to go to the well there a bit today, come up with a lot of solutions,” he says.

“Really proud of our guys, proud of the effort they put in.

“We had a lot of considerable changes there right at the last minute.

“It’s a start, there’s a long way to go.”

“How good is sport in that you can’t script that stuff. You can do all these plans and whatever and then they go out the window, you can’t plan for that one tonight.

“Proud of the guys for keeping a calm head and our coaching staff did a really smart job around how they managed the game.”

By Simon Smale

England lament ‘a pretty tough loss’

England skipper Courtney Laws is speaking now.

“It’s a pretty tough loss that,” Laws says.

“Fair play to Australia, they came with a good strategy and they were the better team on the day.

“We’re disappointed but we didn’t give up, we’re still learning as a squad.”

He says there are “a lot of positives to take away”.

On the first half attacking moves, he says: “We went quite well, probably didn’t execute as we should have and that left us behind on the scoreboard when they got some attacking opportunities they finished them and that was the difference in the end.”

And when they had the man advantage, which they only enjoyed for 25 of the 45 minutes Darcy Swain was off the pitch due to their own yellow cards: “We came out with a gameplan our discipline probably let us down and that was the story of the game for us I think.”

By Simon Smale

‘Gee wizz, we showed some real fight there’

Here’s Nic White, speaking immediately after the game.

“It’s pretty wild,” he says on Stan Sport.

“Warm up was a bit funny, Quadey pulling out just minutes before kick off, Noah coming in doing a phenomenal job, going down a man pretty early, going down to 13 men there at the end, so incredibly proud of the boys, who showed incredible character against a really, really good side.

“How good!

“To beat them against all odds there at one point, gee wizz, we showed some real fight there.

“We know they’re going to be better next week. we’ll need to tidy up some things.

“But right now, let’s ride that roller coaster.”

By Simon Smale

80+3′ Try England!

England barge over, Jack van Poortvliet scoots over from close range to get a try on debut.

Far too little too late from England, but finally the points flow.

Farrell will take the conversion and score it, the score finishes 30-28.

How he will rue those five missed points earlier in the match…

By Simon Smale

80+3′ Penalty England

Another break from Henry Arundell gets England to within five metres!

He is quick…

Penalty to England.

They take the tap and go again.

By Simon Smale

80+1′ Yellow card Noah Lolesio

Wallabies go deep with the kick off and England move the ball nicely to the left but Lolesio sticks an arm out and knocks on deliberately.

England go again.

By Simon Smale

80′ Try England!

Farrell went short form the kick off, and England retain posession.

Finally the English put together a backline move in which the ball goes to hand, lovely tip pass from Steward and its the debutant Henry Arundell who scores in the corner.

Farrell ices the conversion from the sideline.

It’s Australia 30, England 21 as the siren goes.

By Simon Smale

78′ Try Wallabies!

Pete Samu finishes it off, but that was another wonderful team try from Australia.

There were hard yards from the backs on the left led by Koroibete, then down the right from Kerevi and Kellaway.

But then Samu got the ball in centre field about five metres out, changed direction brilliantly on a step and slid over.

Wonderful try.

A wonderful win for the Wallabies.

The kick is successful, Wallabies lead 30-14.

By Simon Smale

75′ Penalty Wallabies!

The scrum turned up when it mattered most!

They forced the England pack back and they get their reward!

Huge moment in the game.

By Simon Smale

73′ Free kick England!

England manage to win the decision at the lineout with the Wallabies bringing the ball straight to ground.

There are a lot of quizzical looks out there, but it will be an England scrum.

There is a lot of blood out there, Luke Cowan-Dicke getting taped up. It’s been that sort of game.

By Simon Smale

72′ Penalty Wallabies!

England were on the charge there, Nowell won the ball off the kick off and then moved the ball nicely to the right.

Fainga’a makes a superb tackle on his own line and then Hooper and Samu get over the ball to win the penalty.

By Simon Smale

70′ Try Wallabies!

The rolling maul gets it done!

Folau Fainga’a is the man who comes up with it after diving over the line and the Wallabies, after facing so much adversity, have some real breathing space!

Australia leads 23-14, the advantage more than a converted try ahead.


By Simon Smale

69′ Wallabies lineout five metres out

Petaia charges into the covering England defender who looks dazed. 

There was definitely head contact there, but that one has been let go.

The referee says there was no tackle attempted.

I’m surprised they’re not looking at that again considering the previous incident.

By Simon Smale

68′ Yellow card Billy Vunipola!

They’re looking at Billy Vunipola’s tackle on Michael Hooper.

Hooper was bent over double and was tackled into Vunipola, who was low himself.

A yellow card?

The referee makes the blindingly obvious statement that the contact “looks faster in real time”.

He wanted to give a penalty only initially, but now that’s been upgraded to yellow and the teams are level for the next ten minutes.

By Simon Smale

68′ Knock on Wallabies

England regain possession with Steward at the back.

Now they recycle a couple of times and put the ball to boot once more.

It’s well taken by Kellaway, but Hooper loses possession!

Hang on though, we have a TMO intervention for potential foul play.

By Simon Smale

64′ Try Wallabies! Lead 16-14!

That was superb from the Wallabies.

Valentini was scragged early as he ran off the back of the scrum but Hooper darted through the line and took a couple with him!

Kerevi ran at the line at pace on the left and earned a penalty advantage.

The Wallabies then shifted it right and the backs straighten enough to deceive the England defence and Petaia dives over the line on the right corner!

Lolesio converts and the Wallabies lead 16-14!

By Simon Smale

62′ Wallabies scrum!

Koroibete take a bow!

 A long kick off from Nic White, Koroibete leaps and gathers and then, as they were going forward, win the scrum.

Big opportunity for the Wallabies, a scrum inside the England 22 on the left side.

By Simon Smale

59′ Penalty England, Farrell converts, England lead 14-9

England off the lineout use a flat pass for Smith and try to crash through the line with Ludlam.

There’s no way though there.

Penalty England! 

The Wallabies were holding on, never letting go of the tackler to create the ruck and the referee, after a long look, blows his whistle.

Farrell, from the left side of the posts, 22 metres out, converts for the three points and England has a five point cushion.

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