Aussie flair flattens England
Johnson's men run ragged by Wallaby backs
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: 12/06/10 1:54pm
Despite complete dominance up front, England were comprehensively outdone by Aussie flair as they crashed to a 27-17 defeat in the first Test on Saturday.
What England lacked in invention their pack made up for in sheer brute force as they attempted to smash their hosts into submission in Perth.
But it was not to be for Martin Johnson's bruisers as the Australian backs cruelly exposed England's frailties in a sparkling display of attacking running.
The Wallabies ran in three flawless tries courtesy of Rocky Elsom and fly-half Quade Cooper, who collected a brace.
The visitors, on the other hand, relied on referee Nigel Owens for their pair after Australia's pack continued to crumble under withering pressure from England's forwards.
The first opportunity for points came in the 10th minute when Nick Easter was caught offside at the breakdown.
But 19-year-old James O'Connor hooked his 35m shot wide in what proved to be nothing more than a case of early nerves for the youngster.
The try came seven minutes later after a scrappy clearance from England scrum-half Danny Care saw Drew Mitchell counter attack with a 40 metre break upfield.
Quickly recycled ball found O'Connor on the right and Mitchell delivered the pass to give Elsom a free run in down the touchline. This time O'Connor hit the target with his conversion to make it 7-0.
Toby Flood missed a 48 metre penalty attempt in the 25th minute and six minutes later England's misery deepened when Cooper went in under the posts for Australia's second.
Wallaby scrum-half Luke Burgess found the gap after the Wallaby pack stole England's line out and darted through to leave centre Shontayne Hape clutching at thin air.
Burgess finished the move with a delightful switch pass back inside to send Cooper in unopposed and O'Connor slotted the extras to take the score to 14-0.
England continued to hammer at the Aussie defence but could not find a way through and the half closed out with the visitors yet to score a point.
Their first came four minutes after the restart, Flood slotting a penalty to make it 14-3 as England continued to try and batter their opponents into submission.
England were now throwing the kitchen sink at the Wallabies and a 30 yard break by Tindall saw the visitors attacking deep in Aussie territory.
Simon Shaw and Steve Thompson were stopped on the line and it took four men to stop prop Dan Cole from driving in under the posts.
Tom Croft finally twisted his way over but was denied the try after referee Owens decided the flanker had been held up.
The resulting five-metre scrum saw England's forwards putting their Aussie counterparts under enormous pressure and after two re-sets their efforts were rewarded with a penalty try.
Flood converted to take the scores to 14-10 and put England, somewhat incredibly, within four points of the hosts.
It didn't last for long though and two minutes later Cooper started and finished a stunning move to score his second and put England right back where they started.
Fed from the scrum, the fly-half blew the visitors away with contemptuous ease, delivering a perfect long, late cut-out pass into the hands of Digby Ione.
The winger never broke stride to collect and raced to the line leaving England's defence hopelessly scrambling back.
Ioane was hauled down just short by Mark Cueto but the supporting Cooper snaffled his offload and dived over. O'Connor made it 21-10 with the conversion.
The depleted Wallaby scrum continued to struggle against the onslaught of England's big men, and when their front row collapsed again the visitors were handed another penalty try.
Flood added the conversion to make it 21-17 and put England right back in the game with ten minutes to go.
But O'Connor extended the Wallabies' lead to 24-17 on 72 minutes, and when Easter was penalised for offside with two minutes left, the full back sealed Australia's victory.