Owen Farrell scored 22 points as England finished 2018 on a high with a record sixth consecutive win against Australia.
In their final match before facing Ireland on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, Eddie Jones’ men scored 24 unanswered points during the second half – with tries from Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga and Farrell helping them to a 37-18 win.
Jonny May scored in the first half, while Israel Folau and Matt Toomua helped to level the scores at 13-13 at half-time.
But England accelerated after the break and put the game to bed, finishing an autumn campaign that has yielded three wins from four.
In sharp contrast to last weekend’s win against Japan, where they lacked a spark in the first half, England were red-hot from the first whistle here, scoring their first try within two minutes.
The scrum, an area which Australia dominated in their Rugby World Cup clash three years ago, was once again England’s domain.
They had the first of the match just five metres out and powered forward, allowing No.8 Mark Wilson to roll off the back and flick a pass to Ben Youngs, who then slipped in May to score.
With Kyle Sinckler and Ben Te’o punching holes in Australia’s backline, England’s start was as fast as it was impressive and Farrell had two shots at goals – landing one penalty and missing another.
2018 might not have been kind to Australia, with just four wins from 12 Test matches this year, but a wounded animal is often the most dangerous and the Wallabies are always capable of cutting through the best defences.
They quickly started to build-up a head of steam, with Folau and Samu Kerevi particularly influential.
After some close shaves they eventually got through, with full-back Folau picking a beautiful line off the shoulder, side-stepping Youngs and Farrell and rumbling over for a try.
Matt Toomua brought the scores back to 13-13 at the break with a penalty but England found another gear in the second half – scoring two tries to kill the Wallabies off.
First, Daly sprinted through following a Farrell offload, picking a clever line and weaving his way past Will Genia to score his tenth Test try.
And Cokanasiga, who will hope to make his Six Nations debut against Ireland in February, once again showed just how much potential he has by blasting his way through from close range.
Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over with a pair of penalties and added a try of his own under the posts, while Folau got his second in the 80th minute.
But perhaps the biggest roar of the day was reserved for Manu Tuilagi, who made his first England appearance in more than two years.
For England, and Eddie Jones, it capped off a perfect afternoon.
WHAT THEY SAID
Owen Farrell: “We started well in the first half and it is pretty simple, the way we played. We played direct and really took it to them – things seemed to go our way.
“It is good to see Manu back and running good lines. It is all about the team second half and we really did well there.
“We always back our players here and we have a brilliant squad, every time you look over your shoulder there are brilliant players.
“What has shown is our togetherness, that is only going to get better. We are just looking one week at a time and we have to look what we can do going forwards.”
PLAYER WATCH – KYLE SINCKLER
Three years ago, Australia got the better of England’s scrum and that proved to be significant as they knocked the hosts out of the Rugby World Cup.
But fast-forward three years and it was England who were dominant at the set-piece and prop Sinckler was at the heart of everything they did.
Promoted to first-choice No.3 this autumn, Sinckler has thrived and he made life very uncomfortable for Scott Sio at the set-piece.
To add to that, he was at his rampaging best with ball in hand, crossing the gainline time and again in a man-of-the-match performance.
Australia went in at half-time with their tails up after recovering from 13-3 down to level at the break, but Daly and England quickly seized the momentum.
The full-back’s try, a scything run off an Owen Farrell pop-up pass, tilted it back in England’s favour and the Wallabies did not recover.
England went on to put the game to bed and finish with a flourish.