The Wallabies are looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive and cap a 2017 revival with the prized scalp of England at Twickenham this weekend.
Bitter rivals at the best of times, the tension between the nations has ramped up over the past 12 months courtesy of Australia’s 33-13 thumping of England to send the humiliated hosts packing from the 2015 World Cup.
But Eddie Jones’ revitalised England side created history with a 3-0 whitewash of the Wallabies in June, and are unbeaten in 12 Tests this year.
Ahead of this weekend’s clash, we’re looking back at the greatest Anglo-Australian Tests.
5. Autumn international 2012 – Australia 20 def. England 14 at Twickenham
Coming off a thrashing at the hands of France, the Wallaby tourists showed tremendous character to outlast the imposing England side. Australia had been whipped 35-18 in their last visit to Twickenham in 2010, but a pair of newcomers created the Wallabies’ only try during the first half. Nick Phipps made a break to set up Nick Cummins for his first Test try in a movement covering 60 metres. A contentious Manu Tuilagi try in the final minute of the half gave England a 14-11 lead, but Berrick Barnes’ boot saw Australia through to a fine win, kicking three unanswered second half penalties. England riskily opted to kick the ball into touch instead of taking the penalty points on offer, but the Wallabies’ defence was repeatedly up to the task.
4. World Cup quarter-final 1995 – England 25 def. Australia 22 at Newlands
A thrilling Cape Town-hosted quarter-final between the 1991 final combatants came to a pulsating conclusion. England led 13-6 at halftime after Tony Underwood scored the only try of the opening 40, but rival winger Damian Smith crossed after the break and the scores were tied 22-all deep into injury time. With the timepiece reading 82:30, England flyhalf Rob Andrew buried a drop goal from the 30-metre line, 10 metres in from touch. The Poms had to survive one last attacking foray by the Wallabies before the fulltime whistle blew, which triggered jubilant scenes rarely witnessed in the history of England rugby.
3. Grand Slam Tour 1984 – Australia 19 def. England 3 at Twickenham
The Wallabies’ stirring path to a history-making Grand Slam began with their first win over England on British soil in 17 years. The scores were locked 3-all at halftime, but Australia exploded after the break; the mercurial Mark Ella scored the first try and had a crucial hand in subsequent four-pointers to Michael Lynagh and Simon Poidevin in a comprehensive second half shutout.
2. World Cup final 1991 – Australia 12 def. England 6 at Twickenham
England infamously – and bewilderingly – ditched their trademark conservative, forward-oriented style for the World Cup final on their hallowed home turf, and they paid the price. Wallabies prop Ewen McKenzie scored the only try of the match as Australia built a 9-0 halftime lead. David Campese deliberately knocked down a Peter Winterbottom pass that would have sent Rory Underwood in for a crucial try if it had found its mark, but a penalty try was not forthcoming. It was far from champagne football, but it was landmark day for Australian rugby and the Nick Farr-Jones led Wallabies.
- World Cup final 2003 – England 20 def. Australia 17 at Stadium Australia
A genuine epic played in front of 82,957 supporters in Sydney, the 2003 RWC final was the second of its kind to go into extra-time. Rugby league converts Lote Tuqiri and Jason Robinson scored the only tries for their respective teams in a gripping showdown, which was tied 17-all after 80 minutes – the Wallabies had clawed back from a nine-point halftime deficit. But with just 26 seconds of extra-time remaining, the left-footed Johnny Wilkinson kicked the match-winning drop goal off his right foot, a 100th-minute special that delivered England their first World Cup and has become ingrained in international rugby folklore.