8 Nov 2009

Wallabies come from behind to beat England

6:15 am on 8 November 2009

The Wallabies scored a desperately-tense 18-9 victory over a gallant England at Twickenham this morning.

In a gripping encounter, Australia trailed until the hour mark before fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper clinched the first leg of rugby's grand slam with a powerhouse try eight minutes from time.

Ashley-Cooper, who scored Australia's sole try in last year's Twickenham triumph over their old foes, was mobbed by teammates after carrying four defenders over the line and planting the ball in the left-hand corner.

Matt Giteau nailed the sideline conversion to put the issue beyond doubt.

But this Test could have ended in disaster for the Wallabies, who are bidding to emulate the 1984 Australian side which famously completed a grand slam sweep of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

With 27 players unavailable - but with Australia's World Cup nemesis Jonny Wilkinson back for his first Test in 18 months - depleted England looked poised to spring a massive boilover after taking a 9-5 lead into halftime.