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England vs Wallabies Spring Tour Test preview and prediction

Charlie Lawry Roar Guru

By Charlie Lawry, Charlie Lawry is a Roar Guru

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    The Wallabies head to Twickenham to take on England at 2am (AEDT) on Sunday for the penultimate match of their Spring Tour.

    The Aussies did enough to get past a rusty Welsh side last week, but know they’ll have to lift in order to vanquish the old enemy.

    England, meanwhile, have won 11 straight at Twickenham under the watch of Eddie Jones, most recently a stuttering 21-8 win over Argentina.

    They’ll be much better for the run and Michael Cheika has his work cut out to break England’s recent dominance.

    Cheika has named an unchanged team, despite the Samu Kerevi experiment failing to pay dividends just yet.

    There were whispers that Karmichael Hunt might take over at 12, but the utility man will once again play the role of super sub.

    Update: Adam Coleman was taken out of the side late due to injury, and has been replaced by a debutant in Blake Enever.

    For the home side, Maro Itoje return via the bench. With George Kruis dropped, Joe Launchbury partners Courtney Lawes in the second row ‒ a move that Jones flagged as an attempt to combat the Wallabies’ physicality.

    Speedster Anthony Watson gets his first start at fullback in the absence of Mike Brown who has been ruled out with concussion.

    The other big inclusion is Owen Farrell, who returns at inside centre after being rested for the Argentina clash.

    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 9. Will Genia 10. Bernard Foley 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Samu Kerevi 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Reece Hodge 15. Kurtley Beale.

    Subs: Moore, Robertson, Alaalatoa, Phillip, Timani, McCalman, Phipps, Hunt.

    1. Mako Vunipola 2. Dylan Hartley 3. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. Courtney Lawes 6. Chris Robshaw 7. Sam Underhill 8. Nathan Hughes 9. Ben Youngs 10. George Ford 11. Elliot Daly 12. Owen Farrell 13. Jonathan Joseph 14. Jonny May 15. Anthony Watson.

    Subs: George, Marler, Williams, Itoje, Simmonds, Care, Slade, Rokoduguni.

    There’s no doubting the ball carrying prowess of Kerevi but, with the exception of a bruising display against Japan, he’s looked uncertain in Wallaby gold this year.

    It doesn’t bode well that, in 2016, the Kerevi-Kuridrani pairing was promptly abandoned during the ill-fated 0-3 home series loss to England.

    The key with this configuration is the presence of Kurtley Beale at fullback, roaming for opportunities as both a playmaker and ball runner himself.

    The Wallabies will look to use the big centres for first-phase hit-ups with Beale swooping around for quick recycled ball.

    England aren’t messing around at the moment. They’ve lost just once in the past two years ‒ to Ireland in Dublin ‒ and appear to have added steel under Jones.

    The asterisk is that they’ve dodged the All Blacks in the fixture list since 2014. While I don’t think they’re quite as strong as they’ve been portrayed, Jones still leads Cheika in head-to-head bouts 4-0.

    If things descend into a scrappy arm wrestle, that streak is likely to continue.

    The Wallaby scrum just about got out alive against Wales. Scott Sio has been below par of late. Once again, the ref’s whistle at set piece time could well decide this one.

    I’m tipping a narrow Wallabies win, in the vain hope we don’t have to watch Farrell craning his neck towards the posts ad infinitum/nauseum.

    Wallabies by 2.

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    The Crowd Says (88)

    • November 18th 2017 @ 6:31am
      lexhamfox said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:31am | ! Report

      Nice match up this weekend. Looking forward to a good test between these two good sides. I expect England to raise their game in a tight contest.. England to win but not by much.

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2017 @ 9:07am
        stillmissit said | November 18th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Lex – It is going to be compulsive watching and we will be up early and hoping Aust truly sort them out, (that’s a dream) a 2 point win to the Aussie’s would be great but I don’t think it will be that close.

        Australia losing Coleman is a big blow but Mike Brown for England is also a blow to them.

        Let’s hope it doesn’t decend in conservative rugby and bore us all to death – I do not think so.

        Getting nervous, where are my old boots and jersey?


        • November 18th 2017 @ 12:08pm
          Harry said | November 18th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          I think Coleman is a far bigger loss than Brown.

          • November 18th 2017 @ 2:20pm
            mzilikazi said | November 18th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            Yes, agree Colman is the bigger loss. I actually see Brown as a weakness in the England side, and his not being there has actually made tings more difficult for the Wb’s.

            • November 18th 2017 @ 3:12pm
              eeds said | November 18th 2017 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

              I don’t think Anthony Watson is anything to write home about either. His club form however has been excellent. What England would do for a player in beales mould…

              • November 18th 2017 @ 6:02pm
                Neil Back said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

                Hmmm. And what wouldn’t Australia do for the rest of England’s team …..

              • November 18th 2017 @ 6:22pm
                Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

                I think that a combined 15 would have a similar number of players from both sides.

                The difference is that England is well ahead in the forwards, and particularly the back-row.

                Pocock would be the only one guaranteed to make a combined starting 15, with Kepu and Coleman being arguable. Itoje, George, Lawes, Vunipola and Vunipola would all be virtually guaranteed.

                I think we’re generally superior in the backs. Ford and Farrell are both just so superior to Foley in the playmaking role that I don’t think that we get all of the value we should from our backs.

              • November 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm
                rugby tragic said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                Hooper would make every countries xv including nz let alone englands

              • November 18th 2017 @ 6:36pm
                Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                No he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t even make Australia’s 15 if we were selecting a single 7 and Pocock was available.

              • November 18th 2017 @ 6:54pm
                PiratesRugby said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

                Thanks Fionn. Who is that guy? I mean I heard of drinking the koolaid but this guys high on the stuff.

              • November 18th 2017 @ 7:12pm
                Neil Back said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                Fionn, I’d love you to name that combined 15

              • November 18th 2017 @ 7:29pm
                Jake said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

                “And what wouldn’t Australia do for the rest of England’s team”

                There’s lots Australia wouldn’t do, in fact almost everything not to have the rest of the English team. A couple of the english players at best. Ideally the 2nd row as back ups for our injury prone ones.
                None of the backs, although if they changed the rules so we could wheel out a goal kicker then i’d have the soap dodgers kicker on the bench.
                The rest of the ponderous English plodders can plod off

              • November 19th 2017 @ 12:49am
                eeds said | November 19th 2017 @ 12:49am | ! Report

                Outside of 2nd row and depth at flyhalf I wouldn’t take anyone. You could argue billy v as well but he seems to spend most of the time injured and McMahon has been playing the house down.

              • Roar Guru

                November 19th 2017 @ 1:11am
                Sluggy said | November 19th 2017 @ 1:11am | ! Report

                So to summarise, gents: The cognoscenti say –

                Hooper should not be picked.

                Foley should not be picked.

                I think they want Cooper & Gill instead.

                Pirates wants to sack a few members of the team, but has no decent alternatives.

                I think that about sums up their partisan input.

                Would you guys please watch the game tonight, and stop parroting out the same crap you always do? It’s getting tired.

      • November 19th 2017 @ 3:53am
        Atlas Ryan said | November 19th 2017 @ 3:53am | ! Report

        Minute-by-minute report: A classic rivalry resumes at Twickenham. Follow all the action with Lawrence Ostlere.

        Watch Free:

        Watch Free:

    • November 18th 2017 @ 6:47am
      Alan said | November 18th 2017 @ 6:47am | ! Report

      England by 15

      • November 18th 2017 @ 11:07am
        ozinsa said | November 18th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        I agree. Coleman out is a disaster. We don’t have the forward power to live with these guys

        • November 18th 2017 @ 4:56pm
          moniano said | November 18th 2017 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

          right on the money ozinsa. Cheika has to come down from his aristocratic throne; he should have taken carter (played his heart out on the 2 barbarian games). We went from great stock in the lock depart to hardly any known name on the lock department – yes Simmon is there but …. Timani should be there instead of the new lock. And to take it together with having Ned start than McCalman make the whole scenario worse. England pack will monster wallabies forwards. It’s disappointing considering a very good backline. Hopefully Timani and McCalman get injected early. Cheika has dismantled the locks stock to almost non-existent. I am worried he might do the same to the centres and wings stock. No wonder Eddie has attributed the wallabies progress to the ex-AB skilled coach.

          • November 18th 2017 @ 7:25pm
            PiratesRugby said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

            Sorry, I don’t rate Carter. Workrate masks lack of any impact. What happened to Arnold? Why does Enever jump ahead of Philip? Why is Simmons still there?? Timani can play in the second row.
            Prior to Coleman’s last minute omission (assuming it wasn’t the plan all along) the Wallabies were weak in the back three. Now they’re weak across the back five. I hope Enever hits rucks all night but he’ll be playing a lone hand.

            • November 19th 2017 @ 12:47am
              Cliff (Bishkek) said | November 19th 2017 @ 12:47am | ! Report

              Plus 1 ++++ — clearly the detail of why, oh why we struggle – Cheika’s selections!! Cheers

      • November 18th 2017 @ 3:38pm
        Noodles said | November 18th 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

        Wallabies need to minimise penalties. It’s the most serious flaw they have right now. But I think otherwise they’ll do better than England. Physically they can match them and I think the wallabies are a bit more mobile.

      • November 19th 2017 @ 12:58am
        Sgt Pepperoni said | November 19th 2017 @ 12:58am | ! Report

        Rain at Twickenham. Coleman out….

        My heart says no but my head says you might be right

    • November 18th 2017 @ 7:00am
      Hammertime said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      And now we are missing Coleman, Tui, Dempsey and Arnold and Izzy. Our pack looks very weak besides England at home. Poms by 12.

      • Roar Guru

        November 18th 2017 @ 7:17am
        eagleJack said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:17am | ! Report

        As long as we maintain some semblance of parity in the forwards we have the attack to trouble England. The problem is we do look a fair bit weaker with Coleman out and Enever debuting.

        But things do bode well for the future. Some cracking talent injured from the pack at the moment. It’s nice to see depth being built.

        • November 18th 2017 @ 7:19am
          Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

          Thought we were going to lose by 10 before Coleman was out. Now I definitely think we will—we’re without our best back in Folau and without our best forward in Coleman. Happy to be proven wrong, however.

          That said, as long as we play well then there is no shame in losing to England. We’ve got to go out there and play as well as we can. Hopefully we click and get the win.

          • Roar Guru

            November 18th 2017 @ 7:39am
            PeterK said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

            Coleman has never started against England.

            He has played them once coming off the bench.

            • November 18th 2017 @ 7:44am
              Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

              Yep, I know that.

              He’s still our best forward though, and the sort of bloke that would help us match it with that big, physical England pack.

              Still can’t understand why Enever is starting and not Philip?

              • Roar Guru

                November 18th 2017 @ 7:50am
                PeterK said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

                I have hopes that Wallabies could match England with Coleman playing and was really wanting to see if that was the case this year.

                Without Coleman, and missing Arnold, Rodda, Tui, the Wallabies are down to 6th and 7th locks and Simmons.

                I see no chance for the wallabies.

              • November 18th 2017 @ 11:09am
                ozinsa said | November 18th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                Our best forward (Pocock) is also out

          • Roar Guru

            November 18th 2017 @ 7:52am
            eagleJack said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

            Things just got a lot tougher that’s for sure. But I was surprised that Coleman was named initially when Cheika stated he clearly wasn’t 100%.

            Tough initiation for Enever. Hope he rips in!

            • November 18th 2017 @ 5:07pm
              moniano said | November 18th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

              Eagle Cheika just did not want to look bad, when keeping Coleman on the list, and by not taking another injury-free lock in the names of Carter and Douglas, we have seen how susceptible Simmon to injury and Tui also on injury list. Tui should not have taken the tour, should have been Carter or Douglas in his place. Very poor management in Cheika part now he looks so bad. Simmon has not played a full game for a long time.

          • Roar Guru

            November 18th 2017 @ 10:59am
            Timbo (L) said | November 18th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            What are your thoughts on Enever?

            I have seen glimpses of his work with the Vikes but haven’t seen enough games to make an educated comment.

            I would like to see him step up into Colemans shoes and wail on the Poms but I am concerned that he wil lbecome another Hanigan – Promoted to the big leagues before his time,

            I don’t understand the difference in the 4 and 5 Jersey. I would have thought Matt Phillip would be next in line. All I can think of is it an enforcer thing – with Simmons and Phillip offering more agility and running..

            • November 18th 2017 @ 11:04am
              Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

              Yeah, I’m going to hold judgement until I see.

              I agree though, I can’t understand why Philip isn’t starting and Enever isn’t on the bench. Peter says it might be line out. Still seems crazy to me.

    • November 18th 2017 @ 7:07am
      Dave_S said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      Coleman scratched, replaced by Enever (Speight omitted, 6:2 bench).

      England comfortably. ?

      • November 18th 2017 @ 7:16am
        Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

        Weird that Enever went straight into the 15 why Philip stayed on the bench, right?

        • Roar Guru

          November 18th 2017 @ 7:47am
          PeterK said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          It is reported he is better in the lineout than Philip.

          I haven’t seen enough of their work there to judge.

          At the force Coleman runs it and at the Brumbies Carter does.

          Their super rugby stats are close though Enever per minute of play does take more lineouts.

          Philip is bigger and looks more physical and powerful.

          So perhaps enever is more mobile.

          • November 18th 2017 @ 10:40am
            Neil said | November 18th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            Phillip would help make up for the total lack of ‘grunt’ in Simmons.

      • November 18th 2017 @ 7:02pm
        PiratesRugby said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

        I still reckon the Wallabies are a mess but I don’t know if Jones has worked out how to deal with Beale. If he has, we’re farked.
        We really needed Coleman in the forwards. He helped fill the gap left by Hanigan, Hooper and McMahon. Hooper is busy and McMahon hits hard but both are too light. And Hanigan is Hanigan. I hope Enever has a great game but I’ve lost faith in Simmons.
        But it’s a game of rugby and anything can happen. Heart says Wallabies in a classic but experience says England by too much. Shall we run a pool on how many yellow cards are handed out?

        • November 19th 2017 @ 9:16am
          PiratesRugby said | November 19th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          I thought cards would go to Hooper and Simmons.

    • November 18th 2017 @ 7:33am
      Neil Back said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      Charlie by name huh

      England isn’t dodging New Zealand any more than New Zealand are dodging England. And Farrell cranes his neck towards the posts because opponents foul under pressure or it’s a conversion. It’s what happens in rugby when one team dominates another.

      Going into this weekend, with Australia’s current form and England’s rusty and disjointed squad, I thought this might be Cheika’s best chance to upset England under Jones so far, with players being rested, out of form or missing injured on both sides. The latest omission of Coleman could be telling. I’m not even sure I remember seeing Enever play.

      I’d reckon Australia would need to have their noses in front by quite a few at halfway to resist the bench England have – otherwise it could (should) be quite painful for Australia.

      • November 18th 2017 @ 7:39am
        Fionn said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

        I’ll actually feel better when the benches are empty. Our starting back-row is so lightweight, and McCalman and Timani add some ballast while Hunt can only help the defence. I think Phipps will watch from the sidelines for the full 30. It’s really Robertson and Moore that worry me, especially since George is better than Hartley from what I’ve seen.

        • Roar Guru

          November 18th 2017 @ 7:41am
          PeterK said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report


          The scrum will be weaker but lineout, and breakdown stronger, they will be more physical, a little bit less mobile.

          Overall forwards will be more balanced and stronger.

          • Roar Guru

            November 18th 2017 @ 11:18am
            Fox Saker said | November 18th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

            The biggest difference is the bench. England’s is significantly stronger. World Player of the Year nominee and probable winner Itoje will have a massive impact as will Marler in the et piece.

            I think the England bench is the really big difference. Wallabies must start well.

        • November 18th 2017 @ 7:56am
          Neil Back said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

          George offers more in attack than Hartley. When England empties that bench there is potentially much more available to them attack wise; Slade is more inventive and in better form than Joseph, Youngs looks to be going through one of his complacent patches again and Care is hungrier, Itoje is a force of nature and improves everything and Roko is in club form of his life again. England has still never chased particularly well, but if they have a lead, the bench could take it into the distance.

    • November 18th 2017 @ 7:42am
      Rob Malcolm said | November 18th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      Coleman a massive blow. Our set piece – scrum and lineout – will be under the pump. Farrell and England to be grinding out a score. We all know our 3 times table.

      • November 19th 2017 @ 1:06am
        Sgt Pepperoni said | November 19th 2017 @ 1:06am | ! Report


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