Owen Farrell was the difference as England won a third Test 44-40 over Australia to sweep their rugby union series 3-0 in Sydney on Saturday — the first by a touring side since the South African Springboks in 1971.
England were outscored five tries to four by the Wallabies, but got home on the boot of inside-centre Farrell.
Farrell landed six penalty goals and three conversions from 10 attempts in a man of the match performance to finish with 66 points for the series.
It was also England’s ninth consecutive win under their former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones and follows earlier wins in Brisbane 39-28 and Melbourne 23-7.
“That was a brave effort from our team tonight. We weren’t at our best, we had a number of players sub-par,” Jones said.
“It was a fantastic effort from the squad to beat a very good and determined Australian side.
“We’re pleased with the 3-0 result, but we realise we’ve got a lot of work to do and Owen Farrell’s kicking was solar system class.”
The Australians were more creative in attack with Matt Toomua and Bernard Foley providing the main spark, but the Six Nations champions proved too consistent for the Wallabies.
“There were too many little inaccuracies after really good buildups,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said.
“Two matches we scored more tries but we lost because we made too many little inaccuracies, we lost too many moments in the game that cut off our flow. It hurts.”
Jones had urged his players to maintain their intensity despite clinching the series in Melbourne last week in their “once in a lifetime opportunity” to vanquish Australia 3-0.
“They’ve been training since June last year, they haven’t had a weekend off, that is a fantastic effort,” Jones said.
“To win the end of that game was a superb effort. They showed fitness, toughness and they were brave.”
England began well and had most of the play before prop Mako Vunipola made a bumping run close to the Australian line before fellow front rower Dan Cole crashed over near the post.
The Wallabies’ response was immediate with Israel Folau dashing up the left touchline before sending Bernard Foley over and he levelled the scores with his conversion.
The Wallabies were over again seven minutes later after several phases and quick hands by Foley and Folau sent winger Dane Haylett-Petty over in the corner for a 12-7 lead.
– Farrell kicks England ahead –
Farrell kept England in touch with a penalty but centre Jonathan Joseph was penalised for not releasing the ball and Foley helped the team regain the five-point advantage.
England claimed their second try off a brilliant kick regather by fullback Mike Brown to score a converted try to lead 17-15.
Coach Jones took off new open-side flanker Teimana Harrison shortly afterwards and brought on Jack Clifford in a tactical switch.
The Wallabies hit the front on half-time through another Foley penalty.
But the team were caught napping at a scrum close to their line when powerful No.8 Billy Vunipola barrelled through winger Haylett-Petty’s tackle to score.
Farrell kicked England further ahead with his second penalty goal.
The Wallabies hit back when Michael Hooper reached out to ground the ball on the try-line for Foley to convert and level at 25-all.
Farrell again kicked England ahead with his third penalty after 56 minutes.
But Australia scored their fourth try when Toomua broke the line and sent Folau racing away to score.
Farrell kicked another penalty before a Nick Phipps error put the Wallabies in trouble in their own quarter and replacement hooker Jamie George scored after the ball came off his shin.
Farrell’s conversion gave England a six-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
The sharpshooter nailed his fifth penalty, but Foley kept the Wallabies in it with a 72nd-minute penalty.
But Farrell again kept England in control with his sixth penalty before replacement winger Taqele Naiyaravoro scored a consolation try after the full-time siren. – Agence France-Presse