Australia coach Ewen McKenzie was left thinking of what might have been after a controversial try sparked England into coming from behind to beat the Wallabies 20-13 at Twickenham on Saturday.
England trailed 13-6 early in the second half when fullback Mike Brown, from just in front of his own line, launched a counterattack that led to a converted try for England captain Chris Robshaw in the 50th minute.
Seven minutes later, England crossed Australia’s try line again when flyhalf Owen Farrell, who missed three first-half penalties, surprised the tourists by exploiting a gap between Wallaby captain Ben Mowen and hooker Stephen Moore.
The television match official (TMO) checked for a possible obstruction by England replacement hooker Dylan Hartley on Moore before the try was awarded by Irish referee George Clancy.
England prevented an Australia side who had posted 33 points, albeit conceding 41 in defeat by world champions New Zealand in Dunedin last month, from scoring at all in the second half.
McKenzie, reflecting on England’s first try, said: “Obviously, it was flashed up on the big screen. That was a 90m turnaround and there’s seven points at the end of it. Theoretically, we should have been having a lineout 5m out [from England’s line].”
“The second one [England try] had the benefit of the TMO looking at it without the pressure of the moment,” he said.
“We can debate those things until you are blue in the face. It’s not going to change the outcome,” added former Wallaby prop McKenzie, a member of the Australia side that beat England in the 1991 World Cup final at Twickenham.
Australia’s eighth defeat in 11 matches this year meant their bid to emulate the celebrated 1984 Wallaby Grand Slam — beating England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales on a single tour — did not last longer than the first match.
Australia will now look to regroup against Italy in Turin on Saturday.