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On this day: Hosts England knocked out of Rugby World Cup by Australia

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images)

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England became the first host nation to be knocked out of the Rugby World Cup at the group stage after losing to Australia on this day in 2015.


Stuart Lancaster’s men had gone into the tournament on home soil with high hopes of regaining the Webb Ellis Cup they had famously claimed for the first time in Australia 12 years earlier.

However, their dreams of success were torn apart on a bruising night at Twickenham as the Wallabies turned on the style to claim a 33-13 win.

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A week after England had twice squandered a 10-point lead over Wales to lose 28-25 in Pool A, they headed into a must-win contest acutely aware of the consequences of failure.

Skipper Chris Robshaw and his troops were under intense pressure after failing to close out victory over the Welsh to keep their bid for the knockout stages on track, but were ultimately undone by Australia’s brilliance and the accuracy of fly-half Bernard Foley.

With the sides having exchanged early penalties, Israel Folau crossed with 20 minutes gone and then again five minutes before half-time with Foley’s conversions giving his side a 17-3 lead.

Another Foley penalty extended the Wallabies’ advantage and although Anthony Watson’s converted try and an Owen Farrell kick gave their side hope at 20-13, Farrell’s departure to the sin-bin and two more deft swings of Foley’s boot extinguished it before Australia centre Matt Giteau dived over to hand the stand-off a third conversion and rub salt into England’s wound.


England’s failure to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time prompted Lancaster to fall on his sword after a review just weeks later.

He said: “I ultimately accept and take responsibility for the team’s performance.”

Australia and Wales progressed to the last eight and although the Welsh fell at the next hurdle at the hands of South Africa, the Wallabies made it all the way to the final, where they were themselves crushed 34-17 by New Zealand.


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