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Perese and Petaia join Wallabies wounded as Eddie’s England level series




England are back on level terms in the three-Test series against Australia but the cost to the Wallabies was significantly greater than a 25-17 reverse in the second Tests at a heaving Suncorp Stadium.

The Wallabies ranks are thinning ahead of the decider in Sydney next week. The Australians lost Izzy Perese and Cadeyrn Neville to potentially serious knee injuries, while Jordan Perese, playing at fullback for the first time for the Wallabies, lasted just minutes before he was forced off and is likely to be ruled out of next week due to concussion protocols.

And replacement prop Scott Sio added to the carnage going off moments after coming on with an injured shoulder.

If that wasn’t bad enough – with the Wallabies having lost Tom Banks to a broken arm in the win a week earlier – his replacement Andrew Kellaway revealed at halftime that he would be missing for eight weeks with a hamstring injury suffered at training on Tuesday.

The Australians did well to make a game of it despite the injuries and going down 19-0 thanks to poor discipline. They got to five points behind with 15 to play when a poor lineout throw was seized on by the visitors.

England coach Eddie Jones came into the game under immense pressure but maintained his perfect record as an international coach on the ground – ending a run of 10 straight Wallabies wins at their fortress.

Owen Farrell at No.12 was immense controlling the game and keeping the points rolling with 20 of his own.

There was some heat in the leadup between rival props Taniela Tupou, coming back after eight weeks sidelined with a calf injury, and England’s prickly loosehead Ellis Genge.

And it was Genge who made an instant impact – Tupou’s admission that they would smash each other, and England’s poor performance up front a week earlier, seemingly firing up the big Englishman.

Within minutes of the start Genge ran straight over the top of Michael Hooper, leaving the Wallabies skipper on his backside.

Genge sought out Hooper again soon after when Maro Itoje dragged down a lineout and Billy Vunipola went over from a maul. Genge stood up and smacked Hooper on the chest several times.

Referee Andrew Brace, a former Belgium international, was caning the Australians’ ill-discipline as Genge dominated Tupou in the scrum.

Brace let England’s Jonny Hill off with a penalty for a knock on on an intercept attempt but wasn’t as lenient when Perese did the same thing, sending him to the sin bin.

It’s a law that’s causing plenty of hand wringing.

“Maybe I’m biased. What’s he supposed to do?” said his injured teammate Andrew Kellaway at halftime. “He’s going for the ball and gets sent sent off. As a fan I’ hate to see that – as a player I hate to see it. The only people happy with it are England.”

Stan commentator Andrew Mehrtens is an avowed hater of the law.

“This is the absurdity we are seeing at the moment, with no common sense applied to some rulings,” said Mehrtens. “I absolutely take issue with this. That is not a deliberate knock on. There is no way he is thinking to knock that on.”

Former Wallaby Drew Mitchell said the Australians had bigger issues to deal with.

“We can all sit here and wax lyrical about the yellow card,” Mitchell said. “Yes it’s flawed, yes we need to do something about it., but the truth is the Wallabies are getting dominated physically, they’re not in the game, discipline is an issue, Taniela Tupou is getting dominated at scrum time.”

England only scored one try in the first half despite overwhelming dominance of a 7-2 penalty count and the Australians had Hunter Paisami to thanks – a try saving tackle cutting down Jack Nowells after England created a huge overlap.

Tupou finally sparked into action, coming up with a try right on halftime after two battering ram runs from Angus Bell. It had taken Australia 36 minutes to handle the ball in the England 22 for the first time in the game and the 19-7 halftime lead flattered the hosts.

Having lost Kellaway midweek and Tom Banks to a broken arm a week ago, they could barely afford another backline blow, but after Jordan Petaia’s failed HIA in the opening minutes, his replacement Izzy Perese was carried off with what looked a serious knee injury.

Farrell kicked a penalty then Tupou drove at the line coming up just short. From the maul the Australians went wide to the left and Samu Kerevi ploughed over, putting the ball down mere centimetres before the dead ball line.

Tupou and Bell were replaced soon after by James Slipper and Scott Sio, but the latter was replaced soon after with an apparent shoulder injury while Nick Frost came on to replace Cadeyrn Neville who appeared to have seriously hurt his knee.

On 52 minutes momentum shifted again when Marcus Smith was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on.

“That’s just a reflex,” said Mehrtens. “That’s even a worse (call) than the Perese one.”

Australia kicked the penalty as Smith took his sideline seat, closing the gap to 22-17. The hosts gave up another chance at three ponts, but their maul approach was unsuccessful.

A steal from Mat Philip on the hour was wasted as James O’Connor kicked out on the full but a moment of magic from Tom Wright sprinting 50 metres then kicking ahead and dragging Tommy Freeman into touch.

The momentum was immediately blown as replacement hooker Folau Fainga’a’s throw was deemed “clearly not straight” by Brace and instead of facing a rolling maul near their line, the English were off the hook.

Within a minute they were up in Australia’s red zone with Smith taking over to put them inches away from a try to kill the game. Australia conceded a penalty and Farrell’s kick pushed the lead to eight with 13 minutes to go.

“Just a couple of small errors have cost the Wallabies – a lineout throw not straight, a kick out on the full from James O’Connor – crucial errors when you’re on attack,” lamented Tim Horan on Stan.





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