Super boot: England's Jonny Wilkinson

MARSEILLE, 6 October - England defeated Australia 12-10 in the first IRB Rugby World Cup quarter-final at Stade Velodrome, Marseille.

The win came on the back of a dominant forward display, keeping England's defence of the Webb Ellis Cup alive after a big stumble against South Africa in the pool stage. They will play the winner of New Zealand and France in the first semi-final at the Stade de France on Saturday, 13 October.

Australia scored the only try of the match but it was not enough, with fly half Jonny Wilkinson kicking four penalties.

Trailing 10-6 at the break, but looking the better side for most of the first stanza, England started brightly forcing a turnover to go deep inside Australia's 22.

A dropped ball from Wycliff Palu at the back of the ensuing scrum presented veteran Mike Catt with a try-scoring opportunity, but he spilt the ball in front of the posts.

With Australia's pack under immense pressure, Jonny Wilkinson's third penalty in the 52nd minute reduced the margin to one.

Australia regained their composure by the hour mark after several backline raids, but a poor pass from George Gregan on half way saw England toe the ball through and regain territorial control. Another Wilkinson three-pointer followed and it was England in the lead 12-10, which they clung to despite late pressure from Australia.

After a tentative start by both sides Australia captain Stirling Mortlock got the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty in the seventh minute, giving his side a 3-0 lead after England were penalised for hands in the ruck .

Some good early work by the England pack was undone with some ill discipline at the breakdown before a promising passage of play, breaking the Wallabies line on several occasions and dominating the scrum and rucks. It was rewarded with two unanswered Wilkinson penalties to give the defending champions a 6-3 lead on the half hour.

Starved of possession, Australia's forwards strung several phases together before wing Lote Tuqiri broke his duck in the tournament scoring out wide in the 33rd minute. Mortlock converted to give Australia a 10-6 advantage.

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