RUGBY

Australia 7-23 England: Eddie Jones' men in historic series win

A fantastic defensive display from the Six Nations champions saw them ensure a maiden series victory down under on Saturday.

Australia 7-23 England: Eddie Jones' men in historic series win
BRANDON MALONE REUTERS

England made history as they secured their first ever series win in Australia with a defiant 23-7 victory in the second Test in Melbourne on Saturday.

The Six Nations champions, who conquered the second-ranked Wallabies 39-28 in the opening Test in Brisbane, defended magnificently in the second half and then sealed the win through a late Owen Farrell try.

Farrell, who was shifted to inside-centre for the second game, contributed 18 points with his try, two conversions and three penalty goals.

By winning, England retained the Cook Cup and hoisted Eddie Jones's side to second in the World Rugby rankings, some 259 days after flopping out of their own World Cup in the pool stages.

England led by 10-7 at half-time, but had to defend for long periods in the second half as the Wallabies probed for the breakthrough try.

But it never came, due to a combination of poor handling and England's unyielding defence protecting their try-line.

It was yet another tactical masterpiece by England's Australian coach Jones, who again out-marshalled his counterpart Michael Cheika.

The hosts scored four tries in last week's defeat in Brisbane, but could only muster one this time through skipper Stephen Moore.

The series will finish with a dead-rubber third game in Sydney next Saturday.

Feelings boiled over with a melee in the 12th minute after referee Craig Joubert had awarded a penalty to the Wallabies but reversed it after penalising Australia for foul play from the incident.

England's powerful pack struck first blood midway through the half when skipper Dylan Hartley scored off a rolling maul close to the line for a 7-0 lead.

The English supporters willed their team on singing 'Sweet Chariot' as the Wallabies made handling errors and struggled for field position.

The English scrum showed their dominance by wheeling Australia to get a psychological penalty to take play back into home territory.

Farrell kicked England further ahead with a 31st minute penalty.

Farrell kicks a penalty goal during England's win over Australia.

But the Aussies struck back with the pack pushing over for a try for skipper Moore with Bernard Foley landing the conversion from wide out five minutes before half-time.

The try spurred the home side on and they finished the opening half pounding the English try-line and only stout defence held them at bay until the Wallabies lost the ball metres out and England had a reprieve.

England began the second half strongly again dominating field position and Australia were finding it difficult to get out of their half.

Foley was penalised after a linesman intervention and Farrell kicked England six points clear.

The Wallabies pressed but numerous handling errors cost them the chance to hit the front in the dogfight with England.

Cheika's men were camped inside the England half but resolute defence and handling errors prevented them from scoring the crucial try as the clock ticked down.

England clinched the game and the series when Farrell toed ahead a loose ball and won the chase to dive on the ball.

He converted to put England out of reach by 13 points.

Farrell kicked another penalty on the siren to ice the victory to huge cheers from the travelling supporters.