England (13) 26

Try: Morgan 2

Pens: Ford 4

Conversions: Ford 2

Australia (3) 17

Try: Foley, Skelton

Pens: Foley

Conversions: Foley, Cooper

Ben Morgan
Morgan took his international tally to five tries as England scrapped home. Getty Images

England ended their autumn campaign with an unconvincing victory over Australia to land a psychological blow 11 months before their World Cup pool match at Twickenham.

Ben Morgan's two tries from rolling scrums either side of half time inflicted upon the Wallabies their sixth defeat in seven matches but Stuart Lancaster's side still require significant work if they're enter next year's showcase tournament as genuine contenders.

Bernard Foley and replacement Will Skelton kept Australia in touch for much of the contest but another attack-laden performance will be bittersweet with the side having lost three autumn fixtures in the north hemisphere for the first time since 2005.

But for England though victory ends 2014 on a winning note, the result again masks over an uncertain display which was defined by predictable and telegraphed attacks stemming from the pack, while questions remain over the personnel in a number of significant positions.

Eleven months out from the potential critical pool stage match between the two sides at next year's World Cup, England and Australia were looking to end a torrid autumn with a moral-boosting victory ahead of the tribulations of 2015.

Despite playing an enterprising, attacking brand of rugby in recent weeks in the defeats to France and Ireland, Australia were seeking to improve on a run of five defeats in their last six tests and claim their first win at Twickenham since 2012.

Meanwhile, England's preparations for a World Cup on home turf was on the brink of crisis amid harrowing loses to New Zealand and South Africa, while coach Lancaster continued to chop and change with his far from settled midfield.

Billy Twelvetrees, winning his first start since June, came in at 12 alongside Brad Barritt in the fifth different centre partnership in England's last six tests; an indication of the lack of direction in a key area of the field. There was continuity at fly-half however as George Ford kept out Owen Farrell.

The build up to the 43rd international meeting between the two sides had been overshadowed by the shock death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes on Wednesday, with the visitors wearing black armbands in memory of the 25 year old while a minute's applause was held before kick-off.

Bernard Foley kicked Australia into the lead within three minutes but successive penalties from Ford, the second coming after Ben McCalman took Mike Brown out off the ball, saw England's newly installed half-back thrust the home side into the ascendency.

Though England were dominating the kicking exchanges, Australia posed the great threat with the ball in hand and only Courtney Lawes' tackle five meters out prevented Adam Ashley-Cooper from snatching the first score of the afternoon.

The Australian's intent to attack from the off was cemented when they turned down a penalty from in front of the posts, instead kicking to the corner and allowing England to earn an escape route after winning a penalty of their own.

It was an opportunity to restore parity the two-time World Cup winners would regret as England's tactics of out-muscling Australia at the set-piece saw them grab the opening try as after Barritt's line-break from a dominant scrum, Morgan claimed his second try of the autumn.

But England's attempts to extend their lead, amid some disastrous Australian's handling, was held up by Ford's inaccuracy from the floor with penalties either side of half time sailing wide and exposing the Bath youngster's major flaw.

And they were missed chances the hosts would rue as Rob Horne and Foley carved England apart, with the New South Wales Waratahs fly-half scoring the opening try with ease to dampen the already tepid atmosphere at Twickenham.

The noise was swelled as England grabbed a crucial second try as replacement Quade Cooper was driven beyond the dead ball line and from the subsequent scrum Morgan was the beneficiary to snatch his fifth international score.

To combat England's dominance at the scrum, coach Michael Cheika introduced 6ft 8ins lock Skelton and within a minute of the 22 year old's introduction Australia were back in the contest as he drove over after another break from Ashley-Cooper.

However, Australia were unable to put together another successful phase of rugby as two late penalties from England via the now nerveless boot of Ford stretched their lead to nine points and secured a second victory of the autumn.


England: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Brad Barritt, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Jonny May, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. David Wilson, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. Tom Wood, 7. Chris Robshaw (captain), 8. Ben Morgan.

Replacements: 16. Rob Webber, 17. Matt Mullan, 18. Kieran Brookes, 19. George Kruis, 20. James Haskell, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Owen Farrell, 23. Marland Yarde

Australia: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Henry Speight 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12. Matt Toomua, 11. Rob Horne, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Nick Phipps; 1. James Slipper, 2. Saia Fainga'a, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Sam Carter, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Sean McMahon, 7. Michael Hooper (captain), 8. Ben McCalman

Replacements: 16. James Hanson, 17. Benn Robinson, 18. Ben Alexander, 19. Will Skelton, 20. Luke Jones, 21. Nic White, 22. Quade Cooper, 23. Kurtley Beale