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RWC 2019: England vs Australia Preview

England vs Australia

England vs Australia

The Roses, winners of Pool C, have been building up a head of steam following their underwhelming 35-3 opening win over Tonga. That match was littered with unforced errors but seemingly served to shock them to life as they proceeded to pick up crucial victories over USA and Argentina before their showdown with France was cancelled due to the effects of Typhoon Hagibis.

They will be confident ahead of this weekend’s encounter given they currently enjoy a six-game winning streak over their Antipodean rivals, against whom they have not lost
since the infamous 13-33 result at the last World Cup.

Under the assured direction and game-management of Ben Youngs, George Ford and Owen Farrell, England have the potential to make a tactical mockery of the Wallabies come Saturday.

The Australians are seemingly yet to settle on an out-and-out first-choice halfback pairing, with the likes of Matt Toomua, Christian Lealifano and Bernard Foley all enjoying spells in the No 10 jersey at varying points during the tournament. Nic White and Will Genia have also rotated in the No 9 shirt and it remains to be seen who exactly Michael Cheika will back to start this weekend.

With wet weather a possibility, the Wallabies’ tactical game will be under even more scrutiny come kick-off. The lack of continuity between their halfbacks is deeply concerning, with indecision and inaccuracy sure to have an impact as the pressure mounts in the contest.

If the English loose forwards can shut out the influence of David Pocock and Michael Hooper at the breakdown, Youngs and co. will be allowed the necessary tine and space to dictate play. Billy Vunipola has been solid so far and his physicality will be vital if his side is to assume control of the Test match.

While Australia were by no means poor during the pool stages, they will need to put in a truly remarkable shift to ruffle English feathers on Kyushu Island.

Prediction – England vs Australia

England by eight-points or more

England are a much more settled team and if their heavymen gain the upper hand at the collisions, Farrell and Ford will see to the rest. Australia won’t simply roll over, however, and while they will remain in the contest for a good portion, they may well slip away in the end.

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