Matt Toomua is leaving Australian rugby. (AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS)
England Vs. Australia
|Australia 33 defeated England 13|
|Referee: R Poite|
|Touch judges: G Clancy & M Mitrea|
Australia and England meet in the key match of Pool A at the Rugby World Cup. Will it be the hosts knocked out or Australia left battling to make the quarter-finals? Join The Roar from 6.00am (AEDT) for all the action from Twickenham.
England’s surprise loss to Wales last weekend has left them in a bit of a pickle. Defeat to the Wallabies could see them out of the World Cup on their own soil, which would be a huge disaster.
England shouldn’t have lost to their neighbours after a strong start and building a decent lead. Wales suffered a string of injuries and the home team had the ascendancy in the set-piece and at the breakdown.
But the Welsh battled back and thanks to a raft of English penalties, Dan Biggar’s accurate goal-kicking and an amazing try, they snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.
It means England will be very fired up for this do-or-die clash. Nothing will be left in the tank in this one.
The home team go into the game a little unsure of their best XV and missing a few key players. Billy Vunipola is out for the rest of the tournament with injury, and he has been replaced by Nick Easter.
Courtney Lawes is also out while there are concerns around Jonathan Jospeh and Ben Youngs, who have both been picked to start.
The Wallabies have a few injury problems of their own. Will Skelton and Wycliff Palu are both off back home, replaced by James Hanson and Sam Carter.
But England has a great recent record against Australia, having recorded back-to-back victories over them at Twickenham in the past two years. The Wallabies’ last win at the famous ground came in 2012.
England will look to exert enormous pressure on the Australian scrum and use their traditional strength in the set-piece. The Wallabies will attempt to control the speed of the breakdown, with both Michael Hooper and David Pocock starting, and to get quick ball to their excellent backline.
Australia has more experience than their rivals, with Dan Cole the only English player to have more than 50 caps. They’re also a touch older on average.
Michael Cheika has painted his team as the underdogs and England have been under heavy pressure from their own media and ex-players. Whether this makes a lick of difference will be revealed on Sunday morning.
Sam Burgess, a player Australian fans may know well, will look to make an impact from the bench.
The Wallabies will be also looking to break a World Cup duck with the English having won in their past three tournament encounters.