Brilliant Wallabies book RWC quarter-final

The Wallabies have secured a World Cup quarter-final berth with a tense 33-13 defeat of England, knocking the hosts out in the pool stage.

The victory on Saturday night – their biggest ever at Twickenham – lifts Australia to the top of Pool A, ahead of Wales on points difference, and consigns England to the ignominy of being the first World Cup hosts to fail to reach the knock-out stages.

Bernard Foley stole the spotlight with two tries and seven-from-seven kicking record, enjoying a personal haul of 28 points to silence the 81,010-strong crowd.

The win is Australia’s first over England at a World Cup since the 1991 final at Twickenham, and goes some way towards avenging quarter-final losses in 1995 and 2007 – not to mention the 2003 final.

The Wallabies had to withstand a second-half comeback as England drew within seven points with 15 minutes remaining.

But that was snuffed out with the 71st minute sin-binning of England five-eighth Owen Farrell for tackling Matt Giteau without the ball – with Foley kicking two more penalties before running in an 80th-minute try to Giteau to complete the rout.

“There was a period there from about the 50th to 70th minute where they came at us and we had to hold pretty strong, hold our nerve,” Giteau said.

“They came home with a bit of a wet sail so I think that showed some great character from us and there’s still a lot of things we can improve on.”

Foley’s outstanding evening saw him set an Australian points record against England, bettering that of Matt Burke’s haul in the 76-0 thrashing in 1998.

The unfashionable No.10, who has had to fight the polarising Quade Cooper to hold onto his spot in the team, crossed for a brace of first-half tries and knocked over both conversions and a penalty for the Wallabies to lead 17-3.

Foley deflected the praise to his teammates but admitted his performance was “up there definitely” with the finest of his 23-Test career.

Makeshift No.8 David Pocock was again outstanding at the breakdown, as England had no answer to the brilliant ball thief, coughing up possession time and again.

Much of the pre-match talk centred around the scrum, and whether the Wallabies would turn to mush as they had in the past.

Instead the opposite happened and England fell to pieces, conceding three first-half scrum penalties – and six by fulltime – as respected French referee Romain Poite came down hard on English loosehead prop Joe Marler for boring in at an angle.

Marler was hooked after 50 minutes following a terse exchange with Poite about coming in at an angle after he’d conceded a fourth penalty.

“It’s something that we’ve been working really hard on and really pleased to see some results there tonight,” Pocock said.

“We’re very proud of the guys, the way the team performed. I thought the forwards did really well and the backs controlled the ball well at times.”

With England’s set piece failing to fire, the Wallabies’ electric backline was given time and opportunity to unleash – and they did.

An early chance was squandered when star fullback Israel Folau butchered an overlap, with winger Rob Horne open outside him.

But Foley ripped the game wide open when he crossed twice in a five-minute period.

For the first, he found a gap between England’s Ben Youngs and Joe Launchbury before breaking through the defence of fullback Mike Brown to score.

Five minutes later, the Wallabies targeted the same two defenders with a clever set play – Foley turning the ball inside to Kurtley Beale who split the defence, drew the fullback and found Foley in support for his second.

Beale was forced into the fray early, coming off the bench after 11 minutes on the wing following a shoulder injury to winger Rob Horne.

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