RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday, 4 October 6:00am
It’s now a ‘do or die’ situation for England after their dramatic loss to Wales last weekend. We saw their best team performance since the Six Nations, for 60 minutes, as they controlled the game until a self-implosion allowed Wales back in the match to snatch victory. Lancaster knows the immense pressure his team are now under but victory here will mean they’ve effectively qualified because of the bonus-point win over Fiji and the likely return of Jonathan Joseph at centre will boost their chances.
Australia have had a quiet start to their campaign. They were unable to pick up the bonus point against Fiji but recorded a regulation five-pointer against Uruguay. In a back-row that boasts Michael Hooper and David Pocock, the Aussies will be confident of delivering the hosts a knockout blow.
Australia have had reasonable success at Twickenham over the years evidenced by a 50% success rate in their last eight visits. However, recently England have had the upper hand prevailing in three of the last four. It’s clear we can expect a tight game. Since 2000 the average score line between these old rivals is 22-20 in England’s favour when playing at home. Lancaster’s record against the Southern hemisphere Big Three at Twickenham supports this claim. Since taking over he has a W3-L5 record but significantly in only one of those eight encounters were the two sides separated by more than nine points. A potential close match-up begs the question of whether Australia have the accuracy off the tee to match that of Owen Farrell like Dan Biggar crucially achieved last Saturday.
That loss against Wales was England’s first in nine at Twickenham. Interestingly, of their seven failures at home under this current management it is the fourth time they have thrown away a half-time advantage. Meanwhile, in their last two successes at Twickenham the Wallabies have come from behind at the break to win, a feat they also managed in two out their three triumphs in the Rugby Championship this year. An England/Australia (HT/FT) at 6.0 appeals greatly.
The Green and Gold won once and narrowly lost three of their four matches to the Six Nations elite last autumn despite Michael Cheika only being thrown in as coach a matter of days before the tour. The former New South Wales manager has now had his chance to stamp his mark on this Australian side and with it has brought rich reward winning six from seven so far in 2015. Cheika will know that if his side are in the game come the last 20 minutes then the pressure on England will go into overdrive so we are inclined to back them.
- Since 2000 the average score line between these old rivals is 22-20 in England’s favour when playing at home
- Australia have won six of their seven Internationals this year
- Australia have won four of their last eight away matches against England.