Wallabies shoulder blame as England run riot

England were declared worthy winners by Michael Cheika but the Australia coach raged at yet another controversial refereeing decision at Twickenham this autumn.

England's Joe Cokanasiga scores his side's third try during the Quilter Autumn International at Twickenham Stadium, London. (Picture: Paul Harding/PA)
England's Joe Cokanasiga scores his side's third try during the Quilter Autumn International at Twickenham Stadium, London. (Picture: Paul Harding/PA)

Eddie Jones’ men were emphatic 37-18 winners in the concluding Quilter International after second-half tries from Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga and Owen Farrell swept them out of sight.

But once more the spotlight fell on the officiating after referee Jaco Peyper declined to punish Farrell for a shoulder-led tackle on Izack Rodda as he stopped the onrushing Wallabies lock on the stroke of half-time.

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Peyper declined to use the TMO for a challenge that Sir Clive Woodward said should have been a penalty try – an outcome which would have thrust Australia 17-13 ahead with a conversion to come.

England's Owen Farrell crosses for England's fourth try (Picture: Paul Harding/PA Wire)

Farrell escaped sanction for a similar tackle in the autumn opener against South Africa, while a week later England were denied victory against New Zealand when a late try was ruled out by the TMO.

“I think it was a penalty try, yeah. I do. I want to make it clear that England were the better team. They deserved to win and had us under pressure for many minutes of the game,” said Cheika.

“But the justification that Rodda tried to take him on with his shoulder is ludicrous – that’s what the referee said. That’s what you do when you carry the ball!

“I went to the referees’ meeting they had here before the Wales game at the start of the autumn and they referred back to the Owen Farrell tackle against South Africa.

“At the meeting Angus Gardiner (referee of England v South Africa) was hung out to dry when it was said in front of all the coaches that that should categorically have been a penalty. And if that’s a penalty, this is three penalties.

“We had three disallowed tries and not one referral. Maybe we need to move Australia up to the northern hemisphere.”

Jones adopted the same line he has used throughout the autumn when asked for his view on the officiating of Farrell’s tackle by refusing to criticise the officials.

“You guys love the TMO, I don’t. I just accept whatever decision the TMO makes and that is the end of it,” said Jones.

“We have had some good decisions, we have had some bad decisions, we just accept them.

“Speak to Michael about it. I’m sure he’ll talk about it. Why talk to me about Michael Cheika?”

Cokanasiga ran in England’s third try as the poorest Australia team seen at Twickenham for some time began to fall apart and the 21-year-old Bath powerhouse almost added a second with a brilliant catch and run.

Jones added: “Joe’s just starting. He’s still got his training pants on. Wait until he gets proper pants.

“He’ll be able to play a bit. He’ll definitely get them. He’s going shopping now.”

Apart from losing their way in the second quarter, England dominated the Cook Cup showdown with man of the match Kyle Sinckler, Jonny May and Cokanasiga outstanding.

Victory was secured against one of the poorest Wallaby teams seen at Twickenham in recent years, the tourists enfeebled by the loss of David Pocock to a neck injury and tumultuous build up due to senior players Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper being disciplined for bringing women back to their hotel rooms.

Among the biggest roars of the afternoon was reserved for Manu Tuilagi, who finally made his first Test appearance for two years as a final-quarter replacement having overcome a groin strain.

It took just 133 seconds for England to take the lead as Mark Wilson broke from a rapidly advancing scrum and fed Ben Youngs, who took a few steps before supplying May with a simple try.

Australia ran aimlessly at times with only the kicking of Matt Toomua asking any questions before that disallowed try.

A brilliant line taken by the gliding Israel Folau helped narrow the gap to three points, but he found the hole between Farrell and Maro Itoje too easily amid a general decrease in defensive aggression from Eddie Jones’s men.

Once a large scuffle had died down early in the second half, England surged back in front with a try out of nothing, Farrell seeming to run out of options until Daly began a perfectly-timed run that saw his raw pace sweep him over the whitewash.

Daylight was opened up when an attack down the left was revived by a weak tackle from Haylett-Petty, who bounced off Cokanasiga to create a gap that the powerful Bath wing sped through.

The result was sealed when Farrell sped through a vast hole in Australia’s disintegrating defence, before Folau had the final say in injury time with a consolation effort.