England vs Australia Preview

11 11 2010

We are in the unusual situation of having, whilst not an over powering level of expectation, certainly a larger dose of it than in any time in recent years. For the first time in several years we are consciously entertaining the possibility of an England win without recoiling in turmoil at the possibility that, simply by thinking it could happen, England will have even less chance.

We like to think of ourselves as a reasoning, thinking and logical collective at the Compulsive Hooker – Dingo excepted perhaps – and this sporting superstition does not sit well with us although, try as we might, it is impossible to ignore.

The reasons why England could win are numerous after a game which, despite the loss to the All Blacks (and in spite of our extremely negative write up perhaps), there were a number of positives to come out of it. The scrummaging was obviously exceptional and it was a joy to behold the old and the new in the forms of Sheridan and Cole packing down together; Australia are surely worried at what these two behemoths may do to their fragile pack.

Youngs continued to show promise and for the periods when England were going forward was most impressive. Flood, Hape, Ashton and the impressive Foden have another opportunity to showcase their undoubted talent against a backline who love playing rugby as much as the All Blacks. The difference being this week is that at England should have the edge up front making it easier for Flood to get everyone going forward.

Equally, Australia would be pretty disgusted with themselves should they lose this game. Yes they’re playing at Twickenham; yes they havent’t got much of a scrum – but quite honestly, they’re the holders of the Bledisloe Cup and have played virtually without a scrum for years so this won’t bother them!

Where they are strong, as always, is in their back row and all across the back line. Indeed in Pocock, Genia, Cooper and James O’Connor they have some of the foremost talents in their respective positions. England scrum half, Ben Youngs, expects the Aussie backline to be more dangerous than the All Blacks – praise indeed considering who plays for the men in black – although to be fair, this might be all part of a weird love in that is occurring between the two sides at the moment.

Summing up; the Australians remain favourites although, unlike last weekend’s air of sheer inevitability, there is a real feeling that England might have just enough to get over the line.

Prediction: England 24-22 Australia

Look out for: Lots of play acting around the scrum as Australia attempt to show that England are scrumming illegally. Pocock to be the first to almost every breakdown. Tindall to be shown up on the outside/inside as his lack of pace tells. Ashton, Foden and Youngs to provide England’s attacking threat. England to just do enough.

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4 responses

11 11 2010
Dingo

unfortunatley we do not hold the bledisloe, but we are on a winning streak against the AB’s that cant be ignored.

11 11 2010
Bradders

whats this – catch bradders out day?

You’re right though – it is a serious winning streak.

12 11 2010
Rangi

Bradders, I am so disappointed that you made the mistake of stating the Wallabies hold the Bledisloe Cup! One Wallaby win in 11 matches against the ABs!

Comment: The English scrum is always very good and Coles is an immense prospect. However, I’m interested to learn why the ABs were persistently penalised at scrum time? I wade into murky waters here but I doubt anyone can actually provide a constructive answer to my question. The English were (and generally are) better at scrum time than the Kiwis (particularly once the game slowed down and England were able to better control the speed of the game). There was always the feeling though that England were better able to manipulate the way the ref was calling matters. England could equally have been penalised for some of their scrum tactics (e.g. delays in the hit and boreing in by Thompson spring to mind). Fair play though. Good luck to the Aussies in the scrums against a very well eqipped front row!

For my money, the edge lies with Australia. There was a lot to admire about England’s second half performance, however, the All Blacks played 50 minutes of poor rugby by anyone’s standard and turned over possession without the type of pressure they tend to receive from Australia and South Africa. Watching the reply of the game left me miffed with several decisions made by the ABs that handed momentum & possession over to an English team that were struggling with the pace of the first 30 minutes. England should have scored in the last 9 minutes of play, particularly given Kaino was in the bin. Fact is, they didn’t. The England backline is limited. One feels that is Jonny was there, England may have just won a match that was there for the taking ….

My pick is that Australia will win if they are able to play the game at pace for a sustained period of time. 28-18 to Australia.

Last point to ponder – how on earth did Hartley not get cited for his foul play over the weekend?

13 11 2010
Bradders

Yes well it confused me! I thought it was only awarded for that game – anyway, I stand corrected!

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