ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

England defence under threat as Wallabies get set to pounce at Twickenham

BY shay39  ·  Friday Nov 17, 2017

This week former England Rugby journalist and performance analyst Shay Waterworth previews the autumn international match between England and Australia.

England have not lost to Australia since they were knocked out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but this could be the Wallabies’ biggest opportunity to snatch a win before 2019.

England head coach Eddie Jones has left out second row Maro Itoje from the starting lineup, and after England’s lackluster performance last week against Argentina, Michael Cheika and his men will be more than optimistic ahead of Saturday.

HERE COMES THE BOOM

Last weekend, England made 196 tackles collectively over 80 minutes, which is the second highest since Jones took over nearly two years ago.

In fact, the only team that has tested England harder in defence was Australia – they forced England to deal with 213 tackles during the second Test of last summer’s tour ‘down under’.

Although Jones may be trying to prove a point by not selecting Itoje, the lock often tops the tackle count in a white shirt and given the Wallabies are on an eight-game unbeaten run, including a win over the All Blacks, England’s defence will be put under pressure.

England and Australia’s front fives share 309 international caps so they can’t rely on experience to influence the game. During last summer’s Test series, England narrowly edged the Wallabies by winning two extra lineouts over the three Tests, while the scrum count and their success rates were identical.

But since then Australia have been able to recruit their most experienced front row, while keeping former captain Stephen Moore on the bench with 127 caps – England’s forwards coach Steve Borthwick will need to have his notebook up to date.

ISRAEL WHO?

The good news for England is that the visitors are without Israel Folau, who is widely regarded as the best full back in the world. That means Wallaby playmaker Kurtley Beale has been moved away from the centres to fill in at the back.

This is significant for Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph because Australia are lining up with the same ball-carrying centre partnership of Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi.

This means the Wallabies may play with less width and try to break England through the middle, therefore Farrell and Sam Underhill must be ready to cover George Ford at fly half, especially at set piece plays.

Last weekend Jonathan Davies caused all sorts of problems for the Wallaby defence because he got on the outside of Kurindrani and fed his wingers.

Farrell’s distribution will give England an excellent opportunity to exploit this weakness outside the 13 channel, especially with the added pace of Anthony Watson at full back and Jonny May, who returns from injury.

Although England are still favorites, it will be a fascinating contest.

THE TEAMS

ENGLAND

Starting XV: 15 Anthony Watson; 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell; 11 Elliot Daly; 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Dan Cole; 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Courtney Lawes; 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Nathan Hughes
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Danny Care, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

AUSTRALIA

Starting XV: 15 Kurtley Beale; 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi; 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia; 1 Scott Sio, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3 Sekope Kepu; 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Blake Enever*; 6 Ned Hanigan, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 8 Sean McMahon
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Karmichael Hunt, 24 Henry Speight

*Debutant Enever is a late change for Adam Coleman, who was ruled out with a thumb injury.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments




Related Articles

  • 54 WEEKS AGO

    Breaking down the greatest year of international...

  • 235 WEEKS AGO

    scottish prop saves fire victim

  • 239 WEEKS AGO

    New Rugby X tournament insane



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    The dummy that sold the whole of Perth - including the cameraman

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Bayonne score 'one of the best tries you'll ever see' in latest match against Exeter

  • 19 WEEKS AGO

    Baloucoune shows Andy Farrell what he's missing as the winger tears through Harlequins defence

  • 31 WEEKS AGO

    Seriously impressive Courtney Lawes compilation released after England player calls time on international career

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Debate rages on after Maro Itoje sent to bin for high shot

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Fiji Drua player Lomani slapped with ban following elbow attack

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    The sending off that rocked the Six Nations opener

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Wrecking ball beats 10 players to score full length of the pitch try

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Wild start at Twickenham as Quins pull off another wonder-try

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    '60 metres, plus change' - massive drop goal stuns fans

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Referee makes 'tackle of the season' as he gets too close to the action

View All

Funnies

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    George Ford falls victim to the kickers curse

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Awesome scenes as Blitzbok fan throws down at the HSBC SVNS

View All

Amateur

  • 72 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 72 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 95 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 95 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 96 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Toulouse player ratings: "Does this Dupont fella ever take a day off?"

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Saracens new flyhalf orchestrates incredible victory for Crusaders over the Blues

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Exclusive: Jack Clement highlights Gloucester's mindset heading into Challenge Cup final

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Former World Rugby Player of the Year on bench as Champions Cup final squads are announced

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Ellis Genge responds after being ruled out of summer tour

View All