Heroic England claim historic series victory in Australia


Captain Dylan Hartley scored a try in his record-breaking appearance and Owen Farrell shone once again as England beat Australia 23-7 at AAMI Park to secure their first series victory Down Under.

Hartley went over in the first half and Farrell added a late second try as England produced a remarkable defensive display to withstand the Wallabies' pressure in an attritional display of rugby to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

The inspirational Hartley became England's most-capped hooker when he made his 74th appearance for his country in Melbourne on Saturday, but far more importantly the skipper was able to get his hands on the Cook Cup.

Australia dominated possession and threw everything at England in the second half after captain Stephen Moore scored their only try, reducing the deficit to 10-7 at half-time, but they were unable to find a way past a heroic England defence after the break.

Farrell gave the Six Nations breathing space with a try six minutes from time and scored 13 points with the boot as Eddie Jones' side claimed a historic series victory against his country of birth with a game in Sydney still to play.

Victory for England also ensured they move about Michael Cheika's side to go second in the world rankings and have now won all eight games under Jones, having taken the first game of the series 39-28 in Brisbane.

Australia made a blistering start in the first Test, but were slow to get going seven days later and Farrell, switched to inside centre, missed the chance to put England in front with an early penalty.

Referee Craig Joubert overturned a penalty initially awarded to Australia in kickable range following a schmozzle, with tempers flaring after Chris Robshaw had been guilty of a neck roll but Moore was the man punished for his reaction.

England piled on the pressure and were rewarded when Hartley bulldozed his way over as the Wallabies were unable to stop a maul following a lineout after 18 minutes and Farrell made no mistake from the tee.

A Farrell penalty made it 10-0, but Australia gave England a taste of their own medicine when Moore dotted down at the back of a driving maul for a try which Bernard Foley converted five minutes before the break.

There was yet more pushing and shoving as the players made their way off at half-time after the Six Nations champions had defended magnificently to deny Australia another try just prior to the interval.

A largely partisan crowd voiced their disapproval when Farrell was given the chance to boot a second penalty and duly stretched the lead to 13-7 after he was adjudged to have been impeded off the ball 11 minutes into the second half.

England's defence was being severely tested, but they continued to withstand a huge onslaught and the brilliant Farrell raced away for another try after chasing Jamie George's grubber, converting before slotting over another late penalty to add insult to injury.