ENGLAND vs SAMOA
TOMORROW, 2.30PM, SKY SPORTS
DARE we say that Martin Johnson’s grand plans to mould England into contenders for the 2011 World Cup are finally taking shape? The scintillating attacking display against the Aussies last weekend suggests so, but we must wait until after tomorrow’s match against Samoa to gauge if that was a one-off or the heralding of a bright new era for the Red Rose.
Samoa did get within 10 points of Ireland last Saturday and are unlikely to be a walkover, but if England can replicate the intensity displayed at Twickenham last time then an admittedly steep handicap of 21 points can be overcome. The Red Rose won by at least that margin in their last two contests against the Samoans, including by a 37-point gap in their last meeting at Twickenham in 2005, so backing England on the handicap at 10/11 with Paddy Power appeals.
Quite rightly, Ben Youngs’ coming of age and Chris Ashton’s wonder try drew most of the plaudits last weekend but Toby Flood’s contribution should not be overlooked. The Leicester fly-half barely made a questionable decision with ball in hand but with his right boot he was flawless. Nine place kicks saw him record 25 points – the highest by a single player ever between England and Australia – and a make-up of 259 metres on Sporting Index’s England kicking metres market. The firm quote 175-185 versus Samoa and if we assume that England will cross the try-line several times, Flood can be relied upon to convert.
England to win with 21pt handicap at 10/11 with Paddy Power
Buy England kicking metres at 185 with Sporting Index