The rollercoaster ride that is Australian rugby in 2012 continued overnight as the Wallabies resurrected their spring tour with a courageous 20-14 win over England at Twickenham.
Three second-half penalty goals kicked by fullback Berrick Barnes gave the Wallabies a six-point buffer against a late attacking surge from England, while a try from winger Nick Cummins allowed the Wallabies to keep pace with a spirited home side who came out fighting in the first half.
Barnes scored the only points of the second period, as well as a drop goal and penalty in the first, to give the Wallabies a reputation-saving win in the second test of their European tour.
The Wallabies pack atoned for their sins against France a week earlier with a dominant performance against the fancied England tight five.
And coach Robbie Deans will be satisfied with another fightback win from his fickle side, which will cool the heat on his career going into the final two Tests against Italy and Wales.
The first half at Twickenham, in front of 81,000 people, was a cagey fight for dominance, with England's Toby Flood kicking the home side to a three-point lead they held for most of the period, before the game boiled over in the last 10 minutes of the period with tries to Australia and England within five minutes of each other.
The Wallabies' drought-breaking five-pointer - their first in three tests - was Cummins's first ever test try.
Halfback Nick Phipps made an exacting line break, bolting towards England's 22 before shifting it wide to Cummins, who had hit full speed on the right wing and was able to skip past lock Tom Palmer then crash over centre Brad Barritt to ground the ball in the 35th minute.
Barnes could not manage the conversion from the sideline, containing Australia's lead to 11-9 over the home side.
England hit back four minutes later with their own try in the corner to centre Manu Tuilagi. Flood missed his attempt at the conversion, and England ran into the sheds three points in ahead of the visitors.
The French walloping gave Australia the kick in the pants they needed to take their opportunities - there was a clear intent to take away points any time the Wallabies found themselves in the England 22.
Barnes put first points on the board for the visitors, to equalise at 3-3, with a drop goal in the 13th minute.
England edged ahead again with a penalty kick 10 minutes later, Australia equalised with a second penalty, Flood took it to 9-3 in the 34th before Phipps and Cummins opened up the match in the final five minutes of the half.
The Australian scrum, too, was reincarnated, after its sacrifice at the hands of the French a week earlier as the forwards came out fighting physically and mentally.
In the first half the Wallabies forced a turnover on one occasion and a penalty, for England collapsing, on another.
Scrum coach Andrew Blades work with the pack last week made the world of difference, as did the Wallabies' overhauled attitude.
Trailing by three points going into the second half Australia worked its way into the England 22 within a minute of the re-start and stayed there, drawing nine crucial points from English penalties by the 55th minute.
The English had no response despite an injection of energy from replacement backs Danny Care and winger Charlie Sharples.
After the match, Deans hailed the efforts of the Australian team.
"Any result here against England is significant," he said.
"It was much better than last week and obviously it had to be. The biggest part of the adjustment was a mental thing.
"They defended very well. England threw a lot at them, the boys had a lot of faith in the defensive line."
England coach Stuart Lancaster said it was a difficult loss to take, and that his side wasted their opportunities late in the game.
"For us, we are absolutely devastated we lost that game," he said.
"I thought Australia played quite a smart game and put us under some pressure with some chips over the top ... They went hard at the breakdown to stop out quick ball."
It was England's first stumble after their domination of Fiji a week earlier and a good trial ahead of their Tests against South Africa and New Zealand.
For Australia it part-answers, for the umpteenth time, the tough questions about Deans's future and the health of the squad leading into the British and Irish Lions Tour next year.
The Wallabies continue to show they may be developing into the most frustratingly inconsistent performers in world rugby but are nothing if not fighters.
Australia 20 (Nick Cummins try Berrick Barnes 4 pens drop goal) bt England 14 (Manu Tuilagi try Toby Flood 3 pens) at Twickenham. Referee: Romain Poite. Crowd: 81,361.
- Sydney Morning Herald