Bragging rights for the next four years are on the line this Saturday night as old foes meet again with the Wallabies against England at Oita Stadium. The winner will play either New Zealand or Ireland next week and it’s tournament over for the losing side.
Saturday, 6.15pm (AEDT)
The Wallabies come into this clash as fairly big underdogs and their World Cup form is a bit concerning. They struggled to put away Fiji in the first game and also couldn't really get going against Georgia in the last warmup before this clash. Other results saw them finish agonisingly close against Wales by 4 points and a fairly comfortable win over Uruguay, which was expected. The overwhelming trend was slow first halves and sloppy Rugby. So they'll need to quickly turn it around on Saturday night, otherwise England will make them pay. It looks like Michael Cheika knows he'll have to try something different and that will see Jordan Petaia take James O'Connor's number 13 jersey. The 19-year-old is considered the future of the Wallabies squad and he showed good signs in his debut against Uruguay in this tournament. Reece Hodge is also back from his 3 game suspension after a high shot in the first game against Fiji. There's some doubt on Kurtley Beale after a head knock against Georgia and he'll likely be a game-time decision. The halves have again changed with Will Genia coming off the bench to replace Nic White and he'll partner with Christian Lealiifano.
England have been impressive in this World Cup and the memories of the 2015 early exit are long gone. So they'll be well favoured to beat the Wallabies and likely take on New Zealand in the semis considering their form at this stage. The English started the tournament with a comfortable 35-3 victory over Tonga. They followed up that performance with another trashing, beating the USA 45-7. With the typhoon impacting their last matchup against France, England's last game was back on October 5 as they again crushed Argentina 39-10. So they're playing impressive attacking Rugby at the moment and that should be hard to handle for the Wallabies. But also defensively, the English have been hard to crack lately. There's also motivation for English coach Eddie Jones as he played club Rugby with Cheika. Jones' side has the wood over Australia with 6 straight wins as well. England haven't named their squad for Saturday as yet but they have no major injury issues and should be fairly certain about their lineup.
Meanwhile, Australia's lineup shows a bit of desperation with another new halves pairing and a few other changes. So it just doesn't bode well for them against England, a side they've struggled to beat lately. The two sides last met in November 2018 and England crushed them 37-18. Which has been the trend in other meetings, England have won the other 2 clashes 30-6 and 37-21. While in World Cup meetings, Australia did beat them 33-13 in 2015 and England have won the previous 3 clashes before 2015.
The English are a much better side compared to 2015 at the moment as they're playing more confident Rugby. So considering England have covered the line in 4 of the last 5 clashes with the Wallabies, the value looks to be with England getting over the line once again. Australia started slowly in most of their pool games and if that occurs again on Saturday night, chasing down England won’t be easy.
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