The 22-year-old Bath powerhouse’s willingness to thunder into the Australia midfield was obviously a planed tactic that the gold shirts had prepared well for. However, the time Australia had to prepare for the runs of the’Jersey Juggernault’ was a problem that undoubtedly requires an answer from elsewhere on the pitch.
The victim of a dubious decision that eventually led to Australia’s first try (an Aussie clearance looked like it had gone directly out of play before Banahan touched it, but the gold shirts were awarded the line-out) the Jerseyman played a part in earning England’s third penalty, leaping high to touch back a crossfield kick from the returning hero Jonny Wilkinson.
Former Les Quennevais pupil Banahan also saved a try when halting Australian captain Rocky Elsom during a second half in which the visitors overhauled England’s narrow lead, which had come courtesy of three Wilkinson penalties.
But overall it was a disappointing team performance, particularly in the pack, in the first of the three Autumn internationals, a point conceded by England captain Steve Borthwick.