Fixtures - Top Bar

England secure historic series win over Australia

England sealed a historic first-ever series victory over Australia, beating the Wallabies 23-7 in Melbourne to take an unassailable 2-0 lead with the third and final Test to come in Sydney next Saturday.

A first-half try from skipper and Northampton Saint Dylan Hartley complemented 18 points from Saracen Owen Farrell, who also flooded through on to a loose ball for a poacher’s score in the final minutes.

It took a remarkable defensive performance to quell the Wallabies, who were relentless in attack, but the tourists blended discipline and ferocious physicality throughout.

In slippery conditions on a sandy surface at AAMI Park Eddie Jones’ side had a chance for the first points when Sekope Kepu shoved Saracens lock Maro Itoje in a line-out.

Farrell – who guided his club side to the Aviva Premiership Rugby title last month – saw his kick fade to the right and an extremely tetchy, tense encounter remained scoreless until the 18th minute.

A well-rehearsed driving maul saw Hartley, on his 74th Test appearance and becoming England’s most-capped hooker, dot down. Farrell’s conversion made it 7-0.

Hartley and his front-row colleagues were also spearheading a scrum effort that the Wallabies struggled to contain.

When one burly push splintered the hosts, England’s maul eked out a breakdown penalty from another muscular line-out maul. Farrell was on target for 10-0.

The ensuing restart provided Australia with a much-needed foothold as Sean McMahon’s charge set off 18 phases of carrying at the England line. Paul Gustard’s defensive system stayed firm but Wasps flanker James Haskell infringed.

Australia skipper Stephen Moore had no hesitation in going to the corner and it was he who was the beneficiary of another driving maul. Bernard Foley’s conversion brought his team back within three points.

There was a taste of what was to come just before the break, England repelling over 20 phases of Australia attack, sparked by McMahon, and the teams went into half-time with England leading 10-7.

Calm commitment to the kick-chase brought England the opening points of the second stanza, assistant referee Nigel Owens intervening to ask the television match official’s thoughts on an off-the-ball incident between Foley and Farrell.

Owens thought Farrell was in the wrong, Craig Joubert adjudged that Foley had infringed. From 40 metres, Farrell extended England’s lead.

With six minutes remaining England sealed the game. Scott Fardy saw the ball slip from his grasp under a shuddering tackle from Farrell, Northampton Saint Paul Hill and Saracen Billy Vunipola moved turnover ball right and Courney Lawes galloped into open space.

Saracens hooker Jamie George followed up and sent a skidding grubber through. Farrell, following up with trademark tenacity, dotted down under the posts. A 20-7 advantage would not be overturned.

One last scrum penalty gave Farrell the chance to ice the cake from 50 metres and the Saracen’s kick bisected the uprights to set off ecstatic and deserved celebrations.

Latest News

Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 36 Newcastle Falcons 14

Exeter Chiefs fought their way to a bonus point victory over Newcastle Falcons to move up to second in Aviva…

Match Report: Saracens 29 Sale Sharks 18

Saracens recorded their first Aviva Premiership Rugby win since New Year’s Day with a 29-18 success over an in-form Sale…

Match Reaction: Harlequins 18 Leicester Tigers 27

Assistant coach Geordan Murphy tipped his cap to a steely second-half showing from the Leicester Tigers replacements, who changed the…

England Under-20 secure impressive bonus-point win over Italy

England secured their third bonus-point win of the 2017 Six Nations with an eight-try 46-0 victory over Italy at the…

Match Report: Harlequins 18 Leicester Tigers 27

Leicester Tigers’ impressive second-half comeback saw them score 24 unanswered points and stun hosts Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop to claim…

Myler still dreaming of top four with Northampton Saints

He has been the cornerstone of Northampton’s back-line for more than a decade and fly-half Stephen Myler insists he will…

Stephen Myler

Joseph returns for derby clash against Bristol Rugby

Jonathan Joseph will return to the Bath Rugby starting line-up for the Aviva Premiership clash with West Country rivals Bristol…

Chiefs side to face Newcastle Falcons

Rob Baxter may be wary of the threat Newcastle Falcons pose to his Exeter side, but insists its challenges such…


Wasps team to play Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday

Director of Rugby Dai Young has named the Wasps’ side to take on Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday,…

Le Roux Wasps

Sale Sharks Team News

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 2.45pm)  at…

Josh Charnley

Newcastle Falcons team to face Exeter Chiefs

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Exeter Chiefs (kick-off 3pm). Chris Harris replaces…

Evan Olmstead

Gloucester Rugby make two changes for Sunday’s trip to Wasps

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that started against Saracens last weekend, making just two changes…

Lewis Ludlow

Bristol Rugby team to face Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby play host to Bath Rugby in the much-anticipated West Country derby on Sunday (1pm KO). Mark Tainton’s men…

Gavin Henson

Saracens name team for Sale clash

Saracens have named their team to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round 16 Aviva Premiership clash at Allianz Park, kick-off…

Joel Conlon

Annett and Dowson return for Saints test

Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin’s Gardens…

Phil Dowson

Northampton Saints team news versus Worcester

The Northampton Saints team has been named for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Round 16 home match against Worcester. The Saints head…

Michael Paterson

RFU Disciplinary: Francois Louw

An appeal against the sanction imposed on Francois Louw of Bath Rugby was heard by an RFU Disciplinary appeal panel…