Test Series

Thrilling Sydney success completes England clean sweep

England rounded off a hugely successful tour of Australia by edging a frenetic final Test in Sydney 44-40 to complete an unprecedented 3-0 series victory.

A phenomenal defensive effort had underpinned England's gritty success in Melbourne seven days earlier, the tourists triumphing 23-7 on that occasion to secure a maiden series win Down Under.

This time around, it was the attacking potency of Eddie Jones' side that was worthy of the greatest praise, as Australia again came off second best despite outscoring their opponents five tries to four.

Australia's final score, from Taqele Naiyaravoro, came with the match already decided, after Owen Farrell's ninth successful kick from 10 attempts had extended England's lead to nine in the final minute.

Farrell finished with 24 points, while Dan Cole, Mike Brown, Billy Vunipola and replacement hooker Jamie George all crossed for England in a thrilling contest that saw the lead change hands on a frequent basis.

Jones' men were first to score, Cole barging over in the 11th minute after a powerful drive forward from fellow prop Mako Vunipola.

Australia replied superbly, a break from Matt Toomua - who impressed on his return to Wallabies action - setting up a Bernard Foley try before Dane Haylett-Petty crossed on the right to ensure Australia were rewarded for another spell of pressure.

Farrell and Foley then exchanged penalties, the latter having missed his second conversion attempt, before Brown latched on to Anthony Watson's chip ahead for England's second try, which was converted to edge the visitors back in front.

Although Foley missed a second kick at goal, the fly-half was successful with a penalty at the end of the first half, putting Australia 18-17 up at the interval.

 

If the opening 40 was eventful, the second somehow proved even more action-packed.

Billy Vunipola broke off the base of a scrum to restore England's lead, soon augmented by another Farrell three-pointer.

Yet Australia were ahead once more when Michael Hooper and Israel Folau crossed in quick succession, the latter benefiting from more fine work from Toomua as the playmaker followed up a slick dummy with an inside pass.

Farrell had split the posts between those scores and made no mistake with his fourth penalty after 62 minutes.

Careless play from Australia then gave England the opportunity to strike again, George touching down after a pass had hit his leg and popped up kindly.

Two more kicks from Farrell gave the visitors' breathing room and the Saracens man sealed victory after Foley had reduced Australia's deficit to six, with Naiyaravoro's subsequent score in the left corner providing scant consolation for Australia.