Wallabies shine against England
England fall to an 18-9 defeat against an experienced Australia at Twickenham.
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2009 19:26 GMT

England's Jonny Wilkinson gets in a tackle on his return to action [GALLO/GETTY]
Australia produced a dominant second-half display to beat England 18-9 at Twickenham.

An injury-hit England side started the first half confidently and led 9-5 at half-time after two penalties and a drop goal from returning hero Jonny Wilkinson, with Australia managing only a try by scrumhalf Will Genia.

But in the end inexperience told as a resurgent Australia returned after the break to overhaul their hosts going into the last 20 minutes.

Two penalties by Matt Giteau edged them ahead before a surging score in the corner by fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper completed their second successive Twickenham success.

Grand Slam

Australia, who had lost six of their previous seven games, now face Ireland next Sunday before games against Scotland and Wales as they seek to match the grand slam achievement of the famed 1984 side.

"We'd been close in every game in the Tri-Nations bar one so our big emphasis was on the second half," Giteau told British broadcaster Sky Sports.

"It (the grand slam) is definitely possible but it's not something we've spoken about yet."

A year ago, with England manager Martin Johnson new to the job, the Wallabies triumphed 28-14 here before England were also battered by South Africa and New Zealand.

Now, despite having to build a side around a trio of returning heroes of the 2003 World Cup and a group of youngsters, England looked a far more self-assured unit in the opening exchanges.

Wilkinson, making his first appearance since the 2008 Six Nations and his first in a November international for a remarkable seven years, picked up where he left off with a drop goal and a penalty in the first 10 minutes.

Slow start

Australia barely mustered an attack in the first quarter but struck back when Genia scored his first international try after England fell asleep defending a ruck.

It was a rare bright spot for the tourists, however, as they continually fell foul of New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence.

Adam Ashley-Cooper scored the crucial try for Australia [GALLO/GETTY]
Last November England were heavily punished by the boot of Giteau for giving away endless penalties but this time the count was 6-0 in favour of the hosts in the first half-hour and Wilkinson took advantage of another one to stretch the lead to 9-5.

The flyhalf then showed that his body really is back intact as he delivered two huge tackles as England defended their line just before half-time.

It was a different story in the second half though.

Australia dominated possession with Genia growing in confidence and centre Quade Cooper a constant danger.

They managed to spill the ball twice with the tryline beckoning but Giteau's boot edged them into an 11-9 lead after an hour.

England were unable to create any sort of momentum and Australia capped their comeback with a 71st-minute try in the corner by Ashley-Cooper, who surged 20 metres through two tackles for the vital score.

Giteau nailed the conversion to take Australia nine clear and they had little trouble keeping the hosts at bay in the final minutes.

All Blacks

In the late game New Zealand used a strong second-half performance and the accurate kicking of Dan Carter to beat Wales 19-12 in Cardiff.

The teams were level 6-6 at half-time, but a second-half try by Andrew Hore and two more penalties by Carter won the game for New Zealand.

It wasn't a vintage All Black performance, but Carter's tactical kicking wore the stubborn Welsh team down. Carter showed no ill-effects from a calf injury that had threatened to rule him out of the game and finished with 14 points.

He is only two points away from becoming New Zealand's all-time highest points scorer.

Stephen Jones scored all Wales' points from penalties.

Wales have not beaten New Zealand in 21 games, a run that stretches back to 1953.

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