Ashton inspires emphatic England win
Winger Chris Ashton scored two tries as England produced a scintillating display of attacking rugby to defeat Australia 35-18 – a record score – at Twickenham on Saturday.
After their disappointing defeat to New Zealand last week, England bounced back superbly to score a second consecutive victory over the Wallabies, following their win in Sydney in June.
Rugby league convert Ashton scored a try in each half – including one dazzling 80-metre individual effort – with flyhalf Toby Flood contributing 25 points with the boot after a flawless goalkicking display.
Australia hit back with two second-half tries from mercurial fullback Kurtley Beale, but the Australians were always chasing the game after England had surged 20 points clear early in the second half.
England had started confidently, working the ball through the phases immediately and stretching the Australian defence.
But basic errors undermined their bright start, and they were lucky not to fall behind after conceding two early penalties which Australian winger James O'Connor was unable to convert for three points.
After a poor defensive display against the All Blacks, England made a big improvement against the Australians.
Superb defence turned an ominous Australian passing move into a sweeping counter-attack which ended in the Wallabies conceding a penalty, which Toby Flood duly slotted for a 3-0 lead.
England's defence rescued them midway through the half, when Flood snuffed out a dangerous Australian attack with a fabulous tackle on O'Connor, who burst into the line after a magical pass by flyhalf Quade Cooper.
Moments later an increasingly confident England scored the first try of the match, surging forward from a lineout to leave the Australians scrambling.
Mark Cueto burst into the line and fed Tom Croft, whose superb one-handed off-load found Ashton, who powered across for his first try, comfortably converted by Flood for 10-0.
Australia finally got points on the board with an O'Connor penalty but England responded immediately with Flood's second three-pointer to restore the 10-point cushion at 13-3.
England had the crowd on their feet with a daring quick penalty which took them deep into Australian territory, leaving the Wallabies defence splintered and forcing Matt Giteau to concede a penalty that saw him sent to the sinbin.
A penalty each from Flood and O'Connor left it 16-6 at the break but England were to seize a decisive lead early in the second half.
A further penalty from Flood made it 19-6 and then came the moment of the match.
With England defending on their own line, another turnover was won. Youngs beat Cooper with an outrageous dummy and passed to Courtney Lawes who fed Ashton in space.
The Northampton wing still had plenty to do but he embarrassed Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell for pace, arced inside and went 80 metres to score under the posts to put England 26-6 ahead.
Australia hit back with a clever individual try from Beale, kicking ahead and gathering to score a converted try under the posts.
But the momentum was all with England, a further Flood penalty stretching their lead to 29-13 heading into the final quarter.
An unconverted try by Beale in the corner reduced the deficit but two more penalties from Flood completed an emphatic victory.