Australia rallied in the second half to beat England 20-14 as rugby world champion New Zealand extended its unbeaten run to 19 matches.
Berrick Barnes kicked three penalties after halftime to give Australia the win at Twickenham in London. Barnes finished with 15 points, while Nick Cummins touched down for the Wallabies.
“All credit goes to them,” England captain Chris Robshaw told Sky Sports. “They came here and did a job. We need to go away and look at where we lost points.”
New Zealand used a strong second-half performance to beat Italy 42-10 in Rome, South Africa continued its domination of Scotland with a 21-10 win in Edinburgh, and France defeated Argentina 39-22 in Lille in today’s other international games.
The autumn series of matches in Europe will affect the seedings for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The International Rugby Board rankings as of Dec. 3 will be used to band the 12 automatic qualifiers in the 20-team tournament in England, with the first four placed at the top of the four five-team groups.
Australia rebounded from last weekend’s 33-6 loss in France to beat England for the 24th time in 42 meetings.
“We spoke about character and resolve this week and I though the effort was outstanding,” Australia captain Nathan Sharpe said. “
Toby Flood kicked three penalties, offsetting a penalty and drop goal from Barnes, to give England a 9-6 first-half lead. Australia went in front in the 35th minute as Cummins touched down in the corner after taking a pass from Nick Phipps, with Barnes missing the conversion.
England went back on top just before halftime as Manu Tuilagi broke down the left side and went over, with the score confirmed by the television match official. Flood missed the conversion to leave the England with a 14-11 lead at the break.
Barnes tied the game four minutes into the second half with a penalty, then kicked two more over the next nine minutes to give the Wallabies a 20-14 advantage.
England twice opted for lineouts instead of taking penalties, but couldn’t score. Thomas Waldron stretched for the line, but video review showed it lost control of the ball as he tried to ground it.
England eschewed another penalty with 11 minutes remaining but never was able to get close to scoring as the Australia defense held.
“We put a lot of pressure on them and we didn’t come away with points when we needed to,” England coach Stuart Lancaster said. “We have got to take those points when we are in the red zone.”
Julian Savea scored two tries and Ma’a Nonu and Cory Jane added one each as New Zealand outscored Italy 29-3 in the second half to extend its unbeaten run. The All Blacks touched down five times, to Italy’s one, and Aaron Cruden kicked 17 points.
Adrian Strauss scored two tries and Pat Lambie kicked three penalties and a conversion as South Africa beat Scotland for the 17th time in 22 meetings. The Springboks avenged a 2010 loss at Murrayfield, their last to a northern hemisphere team.
Vincent Clerc touched down twice as France outscored Argentina three tries to one. Frederic Michalak kicked 24 points for France and Nicholas Sanchez booted 17 points for Argentina.