Wallabies vs England: The jolly in West London

Andrew Roar Pro

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    The annual Twickenham Test between England and Australia promises to be as tight as Kurtley Beale’s budgie smugglers, and Eddie Jones-like blue language is sure to be uttered by fans, players, coaches and possibly even Eddie’s mother this week.

    Close to 82,000 people will fill the iconic West London stadium, with many of those in attendance christened with such intimidating names as Henry, Tarquin, Poppy and Rupert.

    Retina-burning red trousers will be worn in abundance, and the hordes will arouse once every five minutes to drunkenly belt out the song which shall not be named, before retreating to the various bars which are dotted around what is sometimes nauseatingly referred to as “HQ”.

    I briefly mentioned the walk to the stadium from Twickenham railway station last week, and it is worth noting again here.

    Starting from the Cabbage Patch pub and heading up Whitton Rd, there are all sorts of stalls with barbecues, more pubs, off-licenses for cheap beers and a general party vibe until the mightily impressive towering structure that is the ground rises in front of you.

    The front yards and flowers of the local houses in this affluent area also tend to receive extra watering at this time of year.

    Despite results for both sides being positive last weekend, there is plenty of room for improvement.

    England were downright turgid at times against Argentina, with the match being the definition of scrappy, while George Ford will be a relieved man now Owen Farrell is set to return to place-kicking duties this week.

    With Mike Brown possibly out due to concussion, this opens the door to a possible pace-to-burn back three of Anthony Watson, Elliott Daly and Johnny May (a law firm in the making) lining up, a scary proposition for Beale, Koroibete and Hodge to handle in defence.

    Australia’s performance against Wales was the definition of getting the job done as, although Beale, Genia and Coleman all had terrific games, you feel the level the team played at was a notch down from the Suncorp win against New Zealand.

    If there’s a game on this tour that demands they hit that level again, it is this weekend.

    The forward battle, as so often in Australia versus England Tests, needs to be won early, as all four victories by England over the Wallabies last year were built off the back of punishing performances by the likes of Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes.

    Finally, we hope Bernard Foley can summon the spirit of his 2015 World Cup performance against England at the same ground, not only in open play but also his goal-kicking, which needs to be as accurate as possible to counter-act the double metronome of Farrell and Daly.

    There’s only so many times a man can hear a red-faced Englishman remind them of 2003, which is believed to be the year rugby was invented for roughly 80 per cent of English fans.

    With the Ashes starting next Thursday, it is vital to get one up over the old enemy now, lest a long 12 months of brutal banter comes our way. The walk back to Twickenham station can be a dark, long and lonely place after a loss.