England 20 Australia 13: Farrell leads England to Twickenham victory
Tries from captain Chris Robshaw and Owen Farrell shortly before the hour showed their ruthless side once they had finally found some semblance of a rhythm.
But for the opening 50 minutes, Stuart Lancaster’s men were abject and looked every inch a team who had not played together for five months.
Nevertheless, test-match rugby is about having the resilience to win and close out games, which is something England have been unable to do in the past against a rival in Australia who so often come out on top.
England had the better of the scrum and should have been in control despite their lack of fluency, with Farrell missing three of his five kicks at goal in the first half.
The one time they broke into the Australia 22 through Billy Vunipola they opted for the easy penalty points on offer when an infringement was drawn.
Contrast that with the Wallabies, who scored on their only moment of menace; a try prompted by Israel Falau’s burst deep into England territory. When the ball was recycled, Matt Toomua bulldozed over Billy Twelvetrees far too easily.
Quade Cooper, Australia’s magical fly-half, kicked the conversion and two penalties to give Australia a 13-6 lead at the interval.
But when he missed a simple kick at goal 10 minutes into the second half, the tide turned and England seized the inititiative.
First Robshaw dropped on a clearance kick after a lineout had been stolen following a rampaging run down the left by Marland Yarde.
Then Farrell spotted a gap and dashed through from 15 metres.
A resolute defensive stand closed out Lancaster’s first win over the Wallabies and sets them up for a strong autumn with Argentina and New Zealand to come.