England v Australia
Another series of Autumn Internationals kick off this week with England hosting Australia in the first match. Traditionally a hard fought match this one should be no different.
England have gone with a mix of development and those in form with some profiting and some feeling unlucky. At last England have now put Mike Brown in his best position, with a resurgent Ben Foden now snapping at his heels and Alex Goode discarded. Chris Ashton has found form and Marland Yarde was probably the form pick from England A’s Argentina tour. The centres is where I believe Australia will be able to exploit England. There is no doubt Tomkins has made the switch well from League but it takes a while to step up to International level and it seems a strange pick with him not even first choice at Saracens and Henry Trinder playing well at Gloucester and a perfect partner for Twelvetrees. Dickson is the form pick with neither Care or Youngs in great form and that seems strange but the last time England played v Wales in the Grand Slam decider only Farrell, Ashton and Brown were starting with Brown on the wing. In the forwards Billy Vunipola has been promoted ahead of the out of form Ben Morgan, while it is sad to see both Kvesic and Tom Johnson returned to their clubs. The concussion of Parling is going to hurt England and they will lose a lot in the line out with Lawes in and a lot more pressure will be put on Wood and Robshaw to secure some ball. In the replacements Flood must feel lucky Freddie Burns is way out of form part from that it looks a form bench with Attwood replacing Lawes.
Australia suffered some wretched form with Deans in charge and were well and truly stuffed in the Lions final test. They have slowly got better in the 4 nations and the re inclusion of Quade Cooper has certainly seen an Australia that can sparkle now reunited with Genia. The backs are full of talented runners and that shows with O Connor missing out completely and Lealiifano only on the bench. Kuridrana has made a name for himself with some strong performances and I think they are really going to trouble the English side if they get some good front foot ball from the pack. The front row has had well highlighted problems but looks a little more set now and England don’t have the destructive scrummagers of the past that have really put them to the sword. The back row looks dynamic and with Hooper back they should win plenty of turnover ball against a slower England back row. Overall Australia look to hold the edge in the battles and its going to be tough for this new England side.
Brown, Ashton, Tomkins, Twelvetrees, Yarde, Farrell, Dickson; Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Lawes, Wood, Robshaw (captain), Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Hartley, Marler, Wilson, Attwood, Morgan, Ben Youngs, Flood, Foden.
Folau, Ashley-Cooper, Kuridrani, Toomua, Cummins, Cooper, Genia, Mowen (c), Hooper, Fardy, Horwill, Timani, Alexander, Moore, Slipper.
Replacements: Fainga’a, Robinson, Kepu, Douglas, McCalman, White, Lealiifano, Foley.
Last 4 Autumn Internationals at Twickenham
2012 England 14 -20 Australia
2010 England 35-18 Australia
2009 England 9-18 Australia
2008 England 14-28 Australia
So England have lost 3 of the last 4 at Twickenham and 8 of the last 12 between the 2. For a side that knows they can be dominant in the pack it is a real poor return and England will need to show some real grit up front and some much needed flair in the backs to get anything from this match.
With this is mind best bet for me is and for Australia to win again.
Australia @ 2.4 and Australia 1-12 @3.2