England 16-26 Australia

A disappointing first-half performance from England gave Australia a 26-0 lead, enough to win the game despite being kept scoreless after the break.

England recovered from an awful first forty minutes and scored 16 unanswered points in the second period.

Australia are currently placed first in the Gillette Four Nations table, but New Zealand could go top this evening if they beat France by more than 10 points.

The Kangaroos opened the scoring after just five minutes, Greg Inglis finding the space to send Darren Lockyer over the line, Jonathon Thurston converting.

That lead was extended when Jamie Peacock lost possession, and Australia switched the ball to the left and Billy Slater sliced through the dormant defence.

A third try quickly followed, poor tackling allowing Thurston to break down the left wing, Anthony Watmough and Greg Inglis combining for Slater to score, Thurston adding the goal.

England were blunt in attack: a desperate pass from Danny McGuire was fumbled by Sam Burgess, the loose ball seized by Inglis who ran 70 metres to score, Thurston making the score 20-0.

The rout was completed when the ball was again moved left and Brett Morris took advantage of a substantial overlap, Thurston converting, and England were booed from the field.

The hosts looked a better team after the restart and actually improved as the game went on; enough space was found for Burgess to reach out and score just moments into the half, Kevin Sinfield converting.

Burgess went close again when he was unable to touch down McGuire’s chip to the in-goal area, but England were looking stronger, even in defence were Burgess and McGuire made important contributions.

A second try followed after Inglis was tackled into touch, Gareth Ellis the scorer, Sinfied’s goal cutting the deficit 26-12.

Thurston was shown a yellow card for holding down, and after successive penalties Kyle Eastmond’s well-aimed pass allowed Lee Smith to score at the corner.

England pressed on with slender hopes of an incredible comeback, but were unable to cancel out the first-half deficit.

England – 16

T: Burgess (43); Ellis (68); Smith (73)
G: Sinfield (43, 68)

Australia – 26

T: Lockyer (5); Slater (16, 19); Inglis (24); Morris (32)
G: Thurston (5, 19, 24)

HT:  0-26
Ref: Steve Ganson
Att: 23,122

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