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England hosts the Wallabies Saturday night at Twickenham, London. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 2am AEDT.
This is a Twickenham tie-breaker. Since 2015, each side won a game each in this venue. The first match was an exciting Rugby World Cup game where the Wallabies comprehensively outplayed and outmuscled the host team. In that match Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale were key winning weapons.
The second one was last year, where England trounced the Wallabies and held the Australians scoreless. In that game, the Foley-Beale combination was not possible due a Kurtley Beale injury.
Today, the combination is again missing. Beale again is not on the roster, although he is fit and healthy.
As part of the latest Wallaby merry-go-round, Bernard Foley will play as inside centre, with Matt Toomua as chief playmaker.
In this game, the forward packs are action-packed. Michael Hooper will face off with a young, strong and highly mobile version of himself in the form as Sam Underhill.
It is now Hooper who is the old bull, who might be slower. He is definitely shorter than Underhill by two inches.
The other rookie backrower to watch is 29-year-old Mark Wilson, who will face off with 30-year-old David Pocock. Wilson will look forward to many lineout challenges with Pocock who is four inches shorter.
The tight-five battle will be a war zone, especially in the rucks. There will be no Tongan Thor, but there will be hammer and tongs.
Traditionally, the English will back their forwards to do the job, but the Aussies are going to be tough – lineout notwithstanding.
The other areas to look at is backline speed, which I think the English have an advantage. The English also have an advantage regarding kicks, due to the finger locking Owen Farrell.
He was instrumental in the past four matches against the Wallabies, where the Aussies failed to record a single win.
According to the bookies, Argentina has a better chance to beat Scotland than the Aussies over “the Poms”.
That is hard to argue unless the relentless changes in Australian player roster suddenly starts to pay dividends.
When: 2am AEDT
Where: Twickenham, London
TV: Fox Footy
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 George Ford, 23 Manu Tuilagi
15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Jack Maddocks, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Will Genia, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jermaine Ainsley, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Ned Hanigan, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Sefa Naivalu, 23 Marika Koroibete