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Steward and Blamire show the way as England see off stubborn Australia | Autumn internationals

An encouraging golden glow lit up this darkish evening in south west London and not all of it was right down to the guests’ distinctive jerseys. England have had larger victories over Australia however a show of twinkling promise from their new fly-half Marcus Smith and an eighth successive pink rose wins on this fixture since 2016 despatched the majority of the crowd away optimistic about the residence aspect’s medium-term future.

Jones at all times enjoys getting one over on his former employers and, given the Covid-19 disruption on the eve of the sport, this end result will give him as a lot pleasure as any. After Eire’s high-quality effort towards New Zealand it could have been instructive to see the All Blacks on English turf this week however the world champion Springboks will nonetheless be a helpful barometer of the true autumnal price of Jones’s reshaped aspect.

If there may be nonetheless a nagging suspicion that enjoying a pair extra gamers of their finest positions would make an enormous distinction, there isn’t a doubting the promise of Smith in his first main begin at No 10. Smith’s first accomplished go created a high-quality rating for the man of the match Freddie Steward after simply seven minutes and regardless of some sometimes bodily consideration from the Wallaby midfield he was a persistently energetic presence. Henry Slade, deployed largely on the wing however given licence to roam, had a conspicuous first 40 minutes whereas Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry all labored their darkish blue socks off.

5 penalties from Owen Farrell was additionally a good return, tarnished solely by the sight of the skipper limping off with 12 minutes left. It was actually a visually hanging event, with the RFU having commissioned a pre-match sound and mild show far faraway from the regimental bandsmen of yore. Amid the searchlights and fireworks the England staff had been led out by Maro Itoje, profitable his fiftieth cap on a stage that may have prompted even his new superstar mate Jay-Z to lift an admiring eyebrow.

Not the whole lot remained as dazzling as soon as the sport kicked off however the temper was nonetheless reminiscent, for these of a sure classic, of one other vital English contest with Australia at Twickenham in 1988, when England had simply appointed a marketable new captain in Will Carling and a 28-19 victory felt like the begin of a vibrant new period. A definite sense of expectancy hung in the air and Smith, who had seemed encouragingly sharp in the warm-up, didn’t waste time making his mark.

Australia’s wing Tom Wright (No 11) makes a high tackle on England hooker Jamie George, resulting in a yellow card.
Australia’s wing Tom Wright (No 11) makes a excessive sort out on England hooker Jamie George, leading to a yellow card. {Photograph}: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Pictures

With Farrell inside him he acquired the ball at second receiver however, in concept, the Wallaby defence had most bases lined. They reckoned with out Smith’s skill to govern the area in entrance of him, a wonderfully timed little double pump go to the thundering Steward giving the massive full-back the likelihood to swerve previous the cowl and register his first Check attempt.

It was all distinctly ominous from Australia’s perspective. After a flurry of penalties from Farrell and James O’Connor, England had been solely denied one other eye-catching attempt when Jamie George, put away by a neat Courtney Lawes go, was stopped in entrance of the posts by an unlawful shoulder from winger Tom Wright. It price Wright 10 minutes in the sin-bin and in his absence the site visitors was just about all one way.

The heavily-involved George was solely denied by a determined late intervention from Nic White as he dived for the line and, in most respects, the Wallabies had been hanging on for expensive life. A complete of 10 Wallaby penalties conceded in the first half alone was an correct reflection of the stress being utilized and England, 16-12 up at the interval, ought to have been a lot additional forward. Even the free-running Slade, in acres of area with Might outdoors him, will look again and mirror that England didn’t take all the possibilities they carved out, with a fast faucet effort by Ben Youngs additionally dominated out.

Australia, however, would have trotted in at half time happy with the way they’d scrambled and dug in. They had been disappointing in Scotland and their two wins over South Africa this 12 months have merely strengthened the sense that each one their finest gamers have to be on the discipline for them to prosper persistently. Samu Kerevi would have made a distinction and, with two of their frontline props injured, a lot rested on the shoulders of James Slipper, enjoying his first Check at tight-head since 2012.

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Given this was his 113th Check, that could be a lengthy outdated time between drinks, however this was a profession coming full circle. On his debut Slipper was required to return off the bench and prop on each side of the scrum towards dominant English opposition – and this was a particular case of deja vu. With Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou recovering from head accidents and Ollie Hoskins of London Irish solely a late addition to the squad, his 67 minutes on the discipline was one other vital show of character.

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Jamie Blamire fees by means of to seal victory. {Photograph}: Tom Jenkins/The Observer

Even after the equally defiant Angus Bell was proven a forty eighth minute yellow card for upending Lawes, it was a equally stubborn story. Australia might have closed to inside a degree at 19-18 had a penalty towards Lawes not been reversed for a seatbelt sort out by Pete Samu, however Farrell’s fifth penalty with quarter-hour left and a 73rd minute three-pointer from Smith soothed any fluttering English nerves earlier than a galloping late rating from the alternative hooker Jamie Blamire lastly raised the roof.

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