Jones talked in a positive light before the game, claiming England's struggles earlier in the year have made them stronger. His improved mood might have been linked to his relish at taking on the country he led to the 2003 World Cup final. His compatriot, meanwhile, had a much tougher preparation for the clash. Cheika decided to drop Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper for "small lapses of judgement" before David Pocock lost his race to be fit, leaving his coach with more tricky decisions than he would like.
Cheika was agitated from the start at Australia's ill-discipline and sloppiness. Even as his side drew level he showed his frustration at not being rewarded with more than three points after Owen Farrell's controversial stop on Izack Rodda. His mood had not improved by full-time, his post-match interview a platform to voice his displeasure at the performance of the officials. Jones, in contrast, gave little away as ever he mused on England's inconsistencies throughout the opening 40 minutes before being able to enjoy his side cutting loose late on, exceeding his target of two victories from the autumn internationals.
A stuttering first half constricted England to tighter play, though the forwards, led by an improved Jamie George, provided a good platform with their set-piece. Cheika, on the other hand, was keen to see his side play with freedom, leading to reward and unpredictability in equal measure. With the scores level at half-time, Jones had to rally the troops against one of his former sides again. Much like against Japan, once captain Farrell got a foothold in the game, England looked a different outfit and stretched into a commanding lead.