England go back to brutal basics to level Test Series with Australia
AUSTRALIA 17-25 ENGLAND
It was not always pretty for Eddie Jones' side, but the Test Series Down Under goes to a decider. Here are our full England player ratings after the Second Test, in Brisbane.
England hit the front with an early Billy Vunipola try and they had a choke-hold on the Wallabies for most of the first half. The hosts struggled to impose themselves on the game and conceded sloppy penalties.
Four Owen Farrell penalties in a row, two apiece either side of a yellow for Australia's Izaia Perese, had the tourists 19-0 up after 35 minutes. The Aussies, injury hit last week and this, did show some fight when Taniela Tupou got a converted try to leave it at 19-7, heading into the second half.
Some Australian supporters, including former Wallabies winger, Drew Mitchell went into half-time stewing over some calls that went against their side. Television Match Official Joy Neville spoke up to referee Andrew Brace on a couple of occasions in the opening 40, leading to penalties and a yellow card going against Australia.
Mitchell did not call out the former Ireland Women's star but remarked, via Twitter, that the T.M.O was "awful". Others chimed in with their social media takes:
Who is this TMO??
— Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) July 9, 2022
Joy Neville has always been way to intrusive as a tmo in the past and today IMO that was a pen at best #AUSvENG
— Alex McTavish (@alexmctavish0) July 9, 2022
TMO Joy Neville is loving the limelight. #AUSvENG
— Kaylan Geekie (@KaylanGeekie) July 9, 2022
It is worth noting that Joy Neville did pause play to get Brace to review some extras from Ellis Genge on Nic White. She also intervened on some illegal English play in the second half.
Others, meanwhile, loved how Neville was on top of matters, and often brought the referee back to a big incident, if she felt it merited another look:
Nothing gets passed Joy Neville - nothing
— Paul Morgan (@PaulMorganrugby) July 9, 2022
Australia get close, but not close enough
After last weekend's second half comeback in Perth, Wallabies players and fans must were buzzing when, after 48 minutes, Samu Kerevi got over for a converted try. When Marcus Smith was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, five minutes later, home hope throbbed.
Eddie Jones freshened up his troops and England went back to the close-in carries and hard tackling, and clear-outs that had served them well in the first half. It led to two late penalty attempts for Owen Farrell. He missed one, but landed the other and there was no way back.
ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS
Freddie Steward - 7
Just held shy of the tryline, in the final quarter. Just behind Nowell for best attacking option in that backline.
Jack Nowell - 8
Was a constant threat with ball-in-hand.Livelier in the first half, but showed up with a late, jinking carry that got England into scoring territory.
Guy Porter - 5
21 metres made off three carries, and two defenders beaten, but missed a worrying four tackles in defence.
Owen Farrell - 7
Had a fine night off the tee, and defended stoutly. Used more of a decoy for backline moves. Never carried into contact - preferring to pass - when he got the ball, until later in the game.
Tommy Freeman - 6
A quiet enough night on the left wing. Drifted in-field a few times, seeking the ball.
Marcus Smith - 6
Would love to see him running the ball a bit more. Still have yet to see him really cut loose. Yellow-carded after 53 minutes.
Jack van Poortlviet - 7
A lively outing from the scrumhalf, on his first Test start. Some good clearing kicks, and snipes.
Ellis Genge - 7
Aggressive, physical and solid again. Still has moments of needless niggle.
Jamie George - 8
Gave his team a lot of front-foot ball with strong carries. Solid lineout throwing, including the one that set up the rolling maul for the Vunipola try.
Will Stuart - 8
Another solid outing for the tighthead, in the scrum and loose.
Maro Itoje - 6
Only played the first half after shipping a couple of blows. A few good carries when England were on top.
Jonny Hill - 7
Only made three carries but each one gained a handful of metres. Stuck nine tackles. Kept his head down after last week's hair-pulling.
Courtney Lawes - 8
The captain was steady as a rock, in attack and defence.
Sam Underhill - 7
Made a number of brave tackles. The shame was, one of those low dives to bring a Wallaby down saw him ship a head knock and leave the game.
Billy Vunipola - 7
Excellent as pure, attacking propulsion. Got an early try and made metres all night. Lapses were in defence, where he made six tackles but missed five.
Ollie Chessum (for Itoje '40) - 7
Luke Cowan-Dickie (for George '55) - 6
Mako Vunipola (for Genge '55) - 7
Lewis Ludlam (for Underhill '58) - 7
Joe Heyes (for Stuart '60) - 7
Danny Care (for van Poortlviet '65) - 6
Henry Arundell (for Freeman '70) - 6