But England's superior fitness told in the second half, with Delon Armitage, Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton two going over for tries to secure a bonus-point win. England put themselves within sight of the World Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable bonus-point victory over Romania in Dunedin. Mark Cueto scored a first-half hat-trick and fellow wing Chris Ashton a brace to put them up at the break.
Ashton completed his hat-trick after the restart as England ran in 10 tries in all in a much-improved performance. England stumbled into the World Cup quarter-finals and almost certainly put Scotland out after an error-ridden victory at Eden Park. Scotland needed a victory by eight points to have a realistic chance of progressing to the knock-out stages, and for long periods of a ferocious contest looked as if they might pull it off. But two penalties and a drop-goal from Jonny Wilkinson, despite a host of other wayward attempts, plus a late try from Chris Ashton were enough to send a misfiring England through.
England's World Cup dreams fell apart under a French onslaught on a night when their shortcomings were brutally exposed at the quarter-final stage. First-half tries from Vincent Clerc and Maxime Medard opened a lead of 16 unanswered points as England shipped penalties and made basic errors across the park. England struck back with a fine try from Ben Foden and closed to within seven points with three minutes left when Mark Cueto capitalised on a break from replacement Matt Banahan.
But they ran out of time and inspiration as Les Bleus set up a deserved semi-final clash with Wales.
Martin Johnson stepped down from the role of head coach on 16 November He was duly replaced by Stuart Lancaster on 8 December England's new-look side gave interim coach Stuart Lancaster the best possible start by claiming a first win at Murrayfield in eight years. Charlie Hodgson's charge-down try at the start of the second half plus eight points from the boot of debutant Owen Farrell left Scotland ruing a series of blown try-scoring chances. England's inexperienced players came through their baptism of fire with great fight and resolve, despite waves of Scottish pressure.
Dan Parks landed two penalties but dithered with his clearing kick to hand Hodgson and England the softest of tries and the perfect start to their Six Nations campaign.
England's new-look side wriggled off the hook with an impressive second-half comeback to deny Italy's Azzurri their first ever victory over the red rose. Two tries in two minutes from Giovanbattista Venditti and Tomasso Benvenuti, courtesy of England errors, had gifted Italy a lead and threatened to make Six Nations history. But a second charge-down try in eight days from Charlie Hodgson and four penalties from the nerveless Owen Farrell dragged Stuart Lancaster's men back from the brink.
Wales seized their 20th Triple Crown in dramatic fashion after a hugely controversial ending to a gripping contest at Twickenham. Scott Williams' brilliant steal, kick-ahead and try with five minutes remaining put Wales ahead for the first time after four penalties apiece from Owen Farrell and Leigh Halfpenny had the teams locked together at With time up, replacement Mike Brown put David Strettle over on the right but after several minutes of deliberation, television match official Iain Ramage ruled the winger had failed to ground the ball.
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England took revenge for their World Cup quarter-final defeat and produced by far the best display of interim coach Stuart Lancaster's young revolution with a nerve-shredding victory in Paris. Tries in the first 20 minutes from Manu Tuliagi and Ben Foden helped England to a lead but France, with penalties from fly-half Lionel Beauxis, scrum-half Julien Dupuy and his replacement Morgan Parra, came roaring back to within two points at Tom Croft's fine solo try and Owen Farrell's dead-eyed conversion then looked to have made the game safe, only for a late try for the outstanding Wesley Fofana to again bring France within range of a remarkable win.
But Francois Trinh-Duc's last-gasp drop-goal attempt fell just short and England were left celebrating their fifth victory in their last six Six Nations matches against Les Bleus. England produced a dominant forward display to steamroller Ireland and finish second in the Six Nations table in coach Stuart Lancaster's first campaign in charge. Six penalties from the boot of Owen Farrell and an inevitable penalty try were a fitting reward as England's pack destroyed their opposite numbers at the scrum.
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Ireland had been within three points at half-time as Jonny Sexton punished England indiscipline, but the visitors were dismantled in a one-sided second half. Replacement Ben Youngs sealed the win with an opportunistic darting run from a tap penalty as the wheels came off the Ireland set-piece in the last quarter. South Africa overpowered a game England to win the first Test of the three-match series in Durban. For 40 minutes England held their own against a side that had only five days to prepare for the contest.
The score was at the break but after the restart the Springboks increased the physicality. Tries from Morne Steyn and Jean de Villiers effectively secured the match for the hosts and a late touch-down by Ben Foden was a mere consolation. South Africa withstood a brave second-half fightback from England to clinch a series victory in a thrilling encounter in Johannesburg. All hope seemed lost for the visitors as tries from Willem Alberts, Bismark du Plessis and Francois Hougaard gave the hosts a half-time lead.
Two opportunist converted tries from the lively Ben Youngs dragged England back to within a converted try. But a wonderful try from JP Pietersen secured a nail-biting win for his team. England earned a creditable draw in Port Elizabeth in the final Test of the series to end a run of nine straight defeats by the Springboks.
An early penalty from Toby Flood and Danny Care's try from a quick tap penalty gave England an advantage. Morne Steyn's three penalties gave the hosts a half-time lead before Owen Farrell's penalty on the resumption. JP Pietersen's try made it but Farrell levelled matters before missing a last-gasp, long-range drop-goal. England outclassed Fiji in a seven-try rout to record a comprehensive victory in their opening autumn international. Two tries from winger Charlie Sharples and 18 points from the boot of Toby Flood opened up a commanding lead before second-half scores from Tom Johnson, Ugo Monye and two from Manu Tuilagi punished the weary tourists.
England's rebuilding process under Stuart Lancaster suffered a significant setback as Australia's under-fire side held on for a narrow but deserved win. Fifteen points from the boot of the impressive Berrick Barnes and a first-half try from Nick Cummins secured victory for the Wallabies. England slipped to a second chastening narrow defeat of the autumn as a disciplined South Africa held them at bay in a frantic, contentious finale.
Two penalties apiece from Toby Flood and his replacement Owen Farrell brought England to within four points after Pat Lambie's boot and Willem Alberts' fortuitous try had opened up a point Springbok lead. But England's efforts ended in controversy when they opted to kick a late penalty rather than go for the try that would have put them in front.
While Farrell landed the three points there was insufficient time to mount another attack, and a more battle-hardened, streetwise Springbok unit had the win. England pulled off one of the great victories in their history as they destroyed world champions New Zealand at a rejoicing Twickenham. The All Blacks had been unbeaten in 20 matches but were completely outplayed as second-half tries from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi snuffed out a brief comeback. Three penalties and a drop-goal from Owen Farrell gave England a lead after 42 minutes, only for tries from Julian Savea and Kieran Read to make it But there was no denying a hugely impressive England, who secured their first win over the All Blacks in nine years - only their seventh in history.
Stuart Lancaster's men were superior in every department; their scrum excellent, their breakdown immense and their defence relentless. A late try from Savea was barely a consolation for the visitors, the final margin of 17 points a new record for the men in white. England overpowered great rivals Scotland to retain the Calcutta Cup and get their Six Nations campaign off to the perfect start.
A try on debut from Billy Twelvetrees and equally clinical scores from Chris Ashton, Geoff Parling and Danny Care, added to 18 points from the boot of man of the match Owen Farrell, were fitting reward for a dominant display. England's young team won a famous victory in testing conditions to end a year Six Nations hoodoo in Dublin. Four penalties from the boot of Owen Farrell saw them hold off a fierce Irish onslaught and move top of the championship table in what was the lowest-scoring match since the Five Nations became the Six Nations in England's dreams of a first Grand Slam in a decade live on after they survived a bruising, breathless battle at a freezing Twickenham.
A brilliant breakaway try from Wesley Fofana and the boot of Morgan Parra had given France a half-time advantage as England struggled for possession and fluency. But a fourth successful penalty from Owen Farrell stole back the lead before an opportunistic try from the indomitable Manu Tuilagi and two late penalties from replacement Toby Flood snuffed out the tiring visitors.
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England will go to Cardiff on Saturday relieved to be still hunting a first Grand Slam in a decade after stumbling past a battling Italy. Six penalties from the boot of Toby Flood dragged his side to victory but this was never the stroll the form book suggested. England have never lost to Italy in 18 meetings but a well-executed second-half try from Luke McLean and two penalties from Luciano Orquera raised the prospect of a historic upset.
Wales stormed to the Six Nations title as they secured a record win over England and crushed the visitors' Grand Slam hopes in the process. Two second-half tries from winger Alex Cuthbert, four penalties from Leigh Halfpenny and eight points from Dan Biggar's boot were a fitting reflection of what became a romp.
A first-half display of attacking rugby proved enough for England to see off an ineffectual Argentina in Salta in the first Test of their summer tour. Argentina rallied after the interval but could not convert long spells in the England 22 into points. Instead Billy Vunipola scored the only try of a disjointed second 40 minutes with a powerful pick-and-go.
Marland Yarde scored two tries on a dazzling Test debut as England romped to a first clean sweep in Argentina. But two penalty tries and a converted score from Freddie Burns put England ahead at half-time. England overcame both a dangerous Australia and their own shortcomings to grab a precious southern hemisphere scalp and get their autumn campaign off to a winning start.
Opportunistic second-half tries from skipper Chris Robshaw and fly-half Owen Farrell saw them overturn a seven-point deficit after Matt Toomua's try had seen them in trouble at the break. Farrell kicked two penalties and added both conversions after earlier missing three kicks as the home side's superior scrum and forward power in the loose made up for a disjointed display elsewhere. England tuned up for next week's game against world champions New Zealand with a comfortable victory over Argentina at Twickenham. However, while England started brightly, their second-half performance gave reasons for concern.
With England's forwards providing a solid platform and quick ball, Joe Launchbury, Billy Twelvetrees and Chris Ashton scored first-half tries. But England were poor after the restart until replacement Ben Morgan scored a late try as a capacity crowd was reduced to virtual silence at times. England's superb fightback ended in defeat as their bid to repeat last year's stirring win over the All Blacks came up short in the face of the all-round class of the world champions.
The hosts took the lead for three minutes around the hour mark but New Zealand hit back immediately to stay on course for a perfect year after a 13th straight Test victory of But England's forward power yielded a try for lock Joe Launchbury and five penalties from Owen Farrell saw them recover to lead The world champions showed their quality though to manufacture a third try - Savea's second - and Aaron Cruden's penalty kept England at arm's length in the closing exchanges.
A last-gasp try from France replacement Gael Fickou denied England what would have been their biggest ever comeback win in a sensational start to the Six Nations. Having conceded a try in the first minute and been behind with barely a quarter of the contest gone, England had fought back superbly to lead with just four minutes left. Mike Brown's first Test try and another for debutant Luther Burrell came amid 18 unanswered points as early French dominance gave way to English ascendancy deep into the second half.
But with the home crowd reduced to near silence France conjured up one final attack to send the Stade de France into glorious uproar and hand England only their third Six Nations defeat of Stuart Lancaster's tenure. A dominant England steamrollered an abject Scotland to retain the Calcutta Cup and get their Six Nations campaign back on track in impressive style.
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Tries from Luther Burrell and Mike Brown - a second for both in two championship matches - were the reward for an assured performance as Scotland failed to score a single point. England ended Ireland's Triple Crown ambitions and blew the Six Nations title race wide open as they fought back to edge one of the great Twickenham battles. Rob Kearney's beautifully worked try had given Ireland a seven-point lead early in the second half before Danny Care replied with a thrilling score of his own to steal it back.
Owen Farrell, who had earlier notched two penalties, then landed the conversion before a titanic final quarter saw both sides reduced to stumbling exhaustion by the relentless pace. England seized their first Triple Crown in 11 years and set up a tilt at the Six Nations title as they out-ran and out-fought reigning champions Wales at Twickenham. In balmy spring sunshine, England ran in first half tries from Danny Care and Luther Burrell, only for five penalties from the faultless Leigh Halfpenny to keep the score to at the break.
But similar kicking excellence from Owen Farrell punished an error-strewn Welsh performance as Stuart Lancaster's rapidly developing side produced another display of rich promise. England failed to beat Ireland to the Six Nations title despite a thumping victory over an error-ridden Italy. They fell short of the required point winning margin, meaning Ireland's win over France in Paris secured the Championship. But they ended their campaign on a high after running in seven tries against a side which had held them to a combined margin of 13 points in their previous three victories in Rome.
Two tries from the exceptional Mike Brown and one apiece for Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, Manu Tuilagi, Mako Vunipola and skipper Chris Robshaw blew the disappointing hosts away, with Farrell converting all seven and adding a penalty in a fine display. Under-strength England pushed New Zealand all the way in the first Test before the All Blacks showed why they are world champions as Conrad Smith's last-gasp try gave them a dramatic win.
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