England vs. Australia: 6 Things We Learned

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England vs. Australia: 6 Things We Learned
David Cannon/Getty Images

The Aussies still have scrum issues

We suspected it might be the case even with England missing Alex Corbisiero, who did so much damage in Lions red to the Wallaby scrum in the summer. And so it proved with Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole screwing three penalties out of their opposing numbers in the first 25 minutes.

It's doubtful they would have been first at the bar to buy Owen Farrell a pint, given he failed to knock over the chances their hard work presented him with.

Late in the game, with Australia threatening, England's depth in the pack was still too much for the Wallabies to handle, as they wrangled another penalty from the men in gold with just two minutes left.

It was fitting that they had one more pop at the Australian scrum to end the game with yet another penalty. A horrible day for the visiting pack.

 

England must up the tempo more often

The first time England moved the ball quickly, they found space out wide for Marland Yarde to exploit with his power and pace. From the ensuing lineout, England's pressure created Chris Robshaw's try from the charge down.

When they plod through the phases, Stuart Lancaster's side lose their way. When they go quickly, hit rucks at speed and move the ball, they are good enough to do damage.

 

Warren Little/Getty Images

Farrell's top two inches are ice cold

We've seen fly-halves collapse like a badly-set trifle if they miss a kick or two. Missing three relatively simple pots at goal, such as those shanked by Farrell in the first half, could have caused a less mentally strong young man to fold.

But Farrell went the opposite way, shrugged it off and was vastly improved in every aspect of his play in the second 40 minutes, showing tremendous sharpness and confidence to go for the gap for his try.

 

Warren Little/Getty Images

Billy Vunipola has a bright international future

The Saracens man was able to transfer his ball-carrying ability from his club form to the Test arena, barrelling Quade Cooper in the first half and running well off the tail of the lineout to set up the attack that ended with Farrell's try.

 

Mike Brown is a quality Test match full-back

David Rogers/Getty Images

Brown did everything well, from using his huge left boot to relieve pressure and choosing the right moments to run back at Australia. He beat the first man more often than not and was safe under the high ball.

His tackle on Nick Cummins with seven minutes to go thwarted a dangerous counter-attack from Australia. His stock has risen in a struggling Harlequins side and he proved capable of carrying that form into a white shirt.

 

The Aussies lack leaders

James Horwill was replaced as skipper by Ben Mowen and Quade Cooper was made vice captain, but when England took the momentum away from the Australians in the second half, the visitors seemed rudderless.

Where was the man they could rally around? Where was the individual to get them together and regroup his troops? Ewen McKenzie needs to find that man fast. If it isn't Horwill, it doesn't look like Mowen and, in this sort of form, it ain't going to be Will Genia either.

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