England v Australia – The Big Clash
Today HEKKTA are off to Twickenham for the big clash – England v Australia. With so much history behind these two sides and so much riding on this game, you can’t help feeling this is a must win for both Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika. Who will come out on top?
Whilst most of the English fans will trot to the stadium with high expectations following our 3-0 demolition of Australia down under (still feels great to type that), HEKKTA certainly haven’t forgot last time we saw an England v Australia game at Twickenham – that fateful day in October 2015 when they kicked us out our own World Cup.
Chris Robshaw after the defeat to Australia in 2015 – England v Australia
Whilst England have won the last meeting with Australia just under a year ago, the climate to this match feels somewhat different. Australia are on a bit of a streak having won their last seven games and also beating the All Blacks – something Eddie Jones obsessively talks about England needing to achieve. Australia’s unconfidant and lacklustre attitude of 2016 has certainly faded away and the Wallabies have found their form that makes them so dangerous. The perfect example of this was Kurtley Beale’s audacious try against Wales; it’s in no doubt that the Aussies have got their mojo back.
Prince William poses with Kurtley Beale – England v Australia
On the contrary, England’s shaky performance against Argentina last week has cast a cloud of doubt over the side. Excuses were quick to be made as to why the team didn’t click; injuries, haven’t played since the Six Nations, didn’t have our best team out. But I suspect even Eddie Jones (despite what he says) will have been concerned by the performance last week.
So what has he done to the team to correct last week’s lack of energy? Well not that much really. The team selection was pretty predictable such as the fit-again Jonny May coming in for the injured Mike Brown, pushing Watson to 15 (something that should’ve happened a year ago) and Farrell retiring his water-boy duties to come back in at 12 to continue his craftsman-like partnership with Ford. Henry Slade is pushed to the bench after his fish out of water performance last week (this change was likely to happen regardless) and Dylan Hartley remains captain.
The one change which has left us open-mouthed was the decision to pair Lawes with Launchbury and keep Itoje on the bench. Why on earth do we have a player, who has been nominated on the five-man shortlist for World Rugby’s Player of The Year on the bench against the 3rd best team in the world? Even Clive Woodward, who usually harmoniously agrees with Jones on everything, has called this decision bewildering. The only way I can see this working is if he brings on Itoje at the 40 minute mark, but nonetheless, for a player who usually plays 80 minutes, that’s half the game England are missing out on. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a decision Mr. Jones regrets.
Maro Itoje – England v Australia
The Aussie team are largely unchanged from last week’s win over Wales, the only change being debutant Blake Enever replacing lock Adam Coleman, who has a thumb injury.
So – who will win? Well we have to go with England don’t we, but we have no doubt it will be close. The Aussies will have a few cheeky runaway tries and we also expect to see at least one English forward line-out drive try in there two. Maybe another sniping try from Ben Youngs too?
Scores on the doors – HEKKTA are predicting a 24-17 win to England. Come on boys!
Owen Farrell & George Ford – England v Australia