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Aussies make England pay

AUSTRALIA captain Nathan Sharpe hailed his side's character after they bounced back from their humiliation at the hands of France to outmuscle England 20-14 in Twickenham.

Looking more like the team who ended New Zealand's winning run last month (with a draw) than the one that was thrashed 33-6 in Paris last week, the Wallabies yet again showed that they are at their best when everyone is writing them off.

"We spoke about character and resolve and that's something we showed," said Sharpe.

"There were times when we had a lot of (possession in) attack but what won us the game was probably that 20-30 minutes on our tryline when we forced a lot of turnovers."

England skipper Chris Robshaw was left to rue some missed opportunities.

"We weren't clinical enough and some great chances went begging," said the Harlequins flanker. "We need to be clinical when you play the best teams."

South Africa withstood a second-half fightback to down Scotland 21-10 at Murrayfield to keep the southern hemisphere sides well on top during the November internationals.

The gutsy Scots dominated possession for much of the second half but were unable to breach a resolute Springbok defence.

However, they will be buoyed ahead of their final autumn international against Tonga next Saturday.

"We couldn't get into the game," Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said. "All credit to Scotland – they played superbly, but it was great defence by us to keep them out."

World champions New Zealand overcame a sluggish start and a plucky Italian side to win 42-10 in Rome.

Tries from Kieran Read, Ma'a Nonu, Cory Jane and two from Julian Savea plus 17 points from the boot of Aaron Cruden were enough for the world champions to see off Jacques Brunel's team, who were roared on by a sell-out Olympic Stadium crowd.

"I'd like to congratulate Italy on playing a great game of rugby. I thought the attitude of their game was outstanding," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"The most important thing is that the 70,000 people will have gone home with the idea that rugby is a great game, which is better than the last time at the San Siro."

Irish Independent