LONDON, 3 Oct - Fly-half Bernard Foley scored two superb individual tries and kicked 18 points as Australia destroyed England’s hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the Rugby World Cup 2015 with a convincing 33-13 victory at Twickenham on Saturday.
Foley, known as “The Iceman” for his composure, touched down twice in the first half after some brilliant running and kicked a total of four penalties and three conversions to hand the hosts their second defeat of Pool A following last weekend’s loss to Wales.
A late try from centre Matt Giteau completed a confident Wallaby victory as England became the first hosts in the 28-year history of the World Cup to go out of the tournament after the group stages. After trailing 17-3 at half-time, England staged a brief second-half comeback, fuelled by a try from winger Anthony Watson, and narrowed the Wallaby lead to 20-13 with 10 minutes remaining.
But Australia picked up the pace again when it mattered. After fly-half Owen Farrell, who kicked eight points, was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Giteau with 10 minutes remaining, Chris Robshaw’s young side were well and truly out of the fight.
The result means Wales and Australia, both with three victories in Pool A, have reached the quarter-finals. The top spot will be decided when the two teams clash at Twickenham next weekend. England take on Uruguay next weekend but, with just one defeat of Fiji to their name, the hosts have no chance of making the last eight.
Australia, inspired by some great work in the loose from back row players David Pocock and Michael Hooper, never looked like losing the game and put pressure on the hosts right from the start. England full-back Mike Brown had to make a crunching tackle on his opposite number Israel Folau 10 metres from the line to stop an early score.
But after Foley and Farrell had both slotted over penalties, a piece of individual brilliance from Foley put the Wallabies ahead midway through the half. As the England defence was stretched, the fly-half threw a clever dummy outside to dance past scrum-half Ben Youngs before stepping inside Brown to score near the posts.
Foley converted to put Australia 10-3 ahead and then, five minutes before half-time, the Wallabies produced a backs' move straight off the training pitch to go further ahead. Foley ran a clever outside line from 30 metres out, slipped a pass inside to replacement winger Kurtley Beale and then took the outside pass again to run underneath the posts.
He converted to give Australia a 17-3 half-time lead and then added another penalty just after the break to stretch the Wallabies’ lead to 17 points.
England piled on the pressure in the second half and briefly looked capable of staging a dramatic comeback. Watson battered his way down the right flank and just managed to power through two tackles to touch down in the corner after 55 minutes. Farrell slotted over the conversion to narrow the Wallaby lead to 20-10 and then kicked a penalty to make the score 20-13 with 10 minutes left.
But after Farrell was sent to the sin-bin, Foley again led the Wallaby backline in another classic backs move down the right. Foley fed winger Adam Ashley-Cooper who timed his pass brilliantly to Giteau outside to score near the corner and silence the 81,000 Twickenham crowd.
Australia coach Michael Cheika said his team still had plenty to work on ahead of the game against Wales which will decide the winner of the pool.
"There are a lot of areas we can improve on," he said. "The commitment was very good and we will improve on that going forward. We really wanted it; to win and to play well. We knew there would be a lot of pain in England's backyard. It was outrageously loud and we wanted to get stuck in from the start."