WILLIAM CHRIMES PREVIEWS ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA AND BEN CLEMINSON LOOKS AT THE WEEKEND FOOTBALL
IF ENGLAND are to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup they will want to put up a strong showing in the three-match autumn international series starting tomorrow with Australia.
A number of young stars are aiming to secure their place in Stuart Lancaster’s plans for the 2014 Six Nations and the World Cup a year later.
Seven of this squad were on the epic Lions Tour, while a glimpse of the future was provided when the Red Rose were in South America at the same time beating Argentina. Some of them will feature against the Wallabies.
Flanker Tom Croft and centres Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt are missing to give an opportunity to rugby league convert Joel Tomkins. He’s paired with Billy Twelvetrees in the centre and Marland Yarde starts on the wing after scoring twice against the Pumas in his last outing.
The two Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako, start in the pack to offer some serious power up front.
Lancaster will ensure there’s no complacency against an Aussie team that’s lost seven of 10 Tests this year and they head to HQ as 5/4 underdogs with Coral, who make England 8/13 favourites.
This time 12 months ago the Wallabies silenced Twickenham with a shock 20-14 victory and revenge is on the cards.
New Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has been tasked with turning Australia’s fortunes around after Robbie Deans was sacked following the Lions triumph.
It hasn’t been easy for the new man as Australia finished third in the Rugby Championship, the extended version of the Tri-Nations, where they trailed winners New Zealand by 19 points.
But there were some positives from the tournament as they finished by hammering Argentina 54–17.
Winger Israel Folau continued his Lions form with five tries in the Championship and in Christian Lealiifano they have a reliable kicker, though he starts on the bench at Twickenham.
England’s indecision cost them in their last clash with Australia, but they have improved dramatically since then with the New Zealand victory last year providing the foundation.
A number of players are finding form at the perfect time and one of those is Chris Ashton. On the opposite wing Yarde has four tries for London Irish and the pair will be a constant threat.
Lancaster will be confident that his developing side have the weapons to beat Australia. England are worth backing at 10/11 with a -4 handicap with Coral given the average winning margin across the past six matches between the two rivals is 9.5 points
This fixture has a habit of producing tries. There have been 19 touchdowns during that period, but I fancy the first points to come from Owen Farrell’s boot.
England have opened the scoring with a penalty in the past 10 matches at Twickenham and with the rain forecast it may be difficult getting the ball through the hands, so take Coral’s 6/4 for a repeat.
Spread bettors are advised to sell total points at 38 with Sporting Index and should the predicted rain stay away use the firm’s cash-out option to lock in an immediate profit if the game threatens to open up.
England with -4 handicap at 10/11 with Coral
England penalty to be first scoring play at 6/4 with Coral
Sell total points with Sporting Index at 38