Autumn Internationals 2012: England v Australia Prediction


This weekend sees the first of the Southern Hemisphere superpowers roll into town: Australia. So many things add extra intrigue to an already historic rivalry – the disquiet in the Aussie camp, at fever pitch after last week’s spanking by the French; the cautious optimism of England fans, daring to dream once again; the world rankings, so vital with the Rugby World Cup pool draw just around the corner. Everything points to an epic encounter, but who will come out on top?

Reasons to back England

‘Not bad’ was the general consensus after the Fiji game last weekend, but everyone in England, players and fans alike, know they need to step it up again this week. The front row in particular will have had this date circled in their diaries, the likes of Dan Cole and Joe Marler licking their lips in anticipation of a traditionally weak Aussie front row. They were schooled by the French tight five last weekend, and with Roman Poite (widely regarded as the best scrummaging referee in the world) taking the whistle, there will be nowhere for Robinson, Polota Nau, and Alexander to hide.

Out in the backs, the only change to England’s line-up sees Ashton take Monye’s place. Digby Ioane will be glad that England have dropped probably their sharpest looking winger, after bizarrely brandishing them ‘pretty boys’, but that is where the good news ends. Ashton has a habit of sniffing out the try line and will be keen to prove a point after the stirling work of Sharples last weekend threatens to dispute his status as no. 1 winger in the land. Once again Alex Goode’s performance will be scrutinised, and if he can make use of the space as well as he did last week England could be in for some tries.

Finally, it may be dangerous to say but this Aussie team looks a shell of the one that it has been in recent times. Shorn of key decision makers such as Genia and Cooper, and lacking the raw talent and finishing capability of O’Connor, the team seems to lack direction. From an England point of view there has, perhaps, never been a better time to take on Australia.

Reasons to back Australia

Having said all that, we have been promised a backlash, and it would be naïve not to expect one. Australia can’t really go much further downhill after last week, and the whole squad will feel like it has a point to prove. Let’s not forget that this is largely the same squad that managed a draw against the previously all-conquering New Zealand in the final round of the Rugby Championship. They caught France at their mercurial best, but there’s no doubt it’s a side that possesses no small amount of talent.

Kurtley Beale is, on his day, as exhilarating to watch as any player in the world right now. No one is in any doubt of his ability; it is his game management that will be under scrutiny. If he can control his backs and run the game then there is still an incisive edge to the Wallaby back line that could cause England problems. Digby Ioane may not be the sharpest in the pre-match mind games department, but he certainly knows how to score tries. His duel with Ashton is one to relish. Up front, the loss of Pocock is a huge blow, but young Michael Hooper will have a point to prove, back in the land of his ancestors.

It won’t be the runaway victory some people might be expecting, but I think this England team will win fairly comfortably. They should have dominance at the set piece, and secure the platform upon which they can punish the Aussies. England by 8.

What is your prediction for the game?

By Jamie Hosie

23 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2012: England v Australia Prediction

  1. Monye sharpest looking winger? I assume you mean “sharp” as in “Wow that shirt looks sharp”, because Monye was far from any other kind of sharp on Saturday!

    Aside from that, fairly accurate prediction I would say!

        1. Should have made that clearer, I meant sharp as in how he looks! I think it’s fair to say Ashton and Sharples aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing of wingers… But in terms of how Monye played I wasn’t saying he was sharp!

  2. I’m going for an Australia win but I don’t know why.

    The front rows are similar. Marler and Youngs are inexperienced and I can’t see England being as dominant in the scrum as people expect.

    Had it been Hartley and Corbs with Cole, then would say it would be a different story, but Marler isn’t the finished article and Youngs only trip into international waters has been against Fiji.

    England will have to win three battles. Scrum, Breakdown and Penalty count, and disrupt Beale as much as possible.

    I think inexperience will show, and Australia win by 6.

    1. Hmmm…would say that Marler has faced far, far better props in the premiership and heineken cup than he will at the weekend

      Would any of the Aussie props even manage first choice for a premiership club?

      1. I tend to agree with Pablito here. Marler also performed well in SA, which is a much tougher test that Australia. I think England will dominate up front but the game will still be very close. England win by 5.

  3. Pretty boys ? Better directed at the Australian front row based on last week .If the ref as stated polices the scrum correctly then England should win by more than a score but come con time sorry scrum time the Aussies can be very cute on occasion but without Genia et al are less dangerous than normal.

    Being pedantic that draw against the Blacks wasn’t in the championship but a Bledisloe cup match and NZ already had that trophy tied up too so their motivation was a bit less than normal .

  4. England HAVE to win this. Yes Aus will be fired up, yes they are probably the most street wise outfit and will use every trick in the book come scrum time BUT this is still the weakest visiting Aus team I have ever seen. If we cant beat a team shorne of Genia, Pocock, O’Connor et al at home then we really are in trouble. England must do what they have failed to do in their last 4 tests – and start strongly – if we can get an early score and more imprtandly prevent Aus from scoring early I think even Aus heads would drop.

    1. Completely agree, it’s absolutely essential that England win this game. In fact, given the ranking points at stake, I’d say that if we don’t win this, we won’t win the World Cup.

      Pressure is on – but I think they’ll do it.

      They won’t be as bad as last week, but Pocock’s injury is the key…

  5. I think that the backlash that everyone is talking about is based on the fact that Australia were poor last weekend and can’t possibly play that badly for two games in a row. They may have some problems at the moment, but we know that they are better than that, and I’m sure that facing the “poms” will help their inner steel. Am predicting a narrowish England win. Hope I’m right (with the winner)!

  6. I want to say Australia will be a stern test, but I don’t think they’ll be nearly as stern as SA or NZ. With that in mind I’ve called England by 10. I think if England fail to get a margin on Aus, they’re not going to beat SA or NZ and the ranking is going to be hit hard over the next few weeks. A marker and a confident performance are required.

    While I’d still say that Australia have some talent, I think the players that they’ve lost are going to be key. With a ful squad out there it’d be a tighter game. If England dominate up front, it will negate the back line, but they’re always going to have to be wary of the threat.

  7. The loss of Pocock is the key injury to my mind and Australia may struggle to slow us down legally.
    The self-inflicted absence of Cooper asks the question if Beale, a class full back, is in fact an international fly-half. Why is Barnes at full-back? Mind you we have Goode, who I see as a natural fly-half playing as full-back.
    We should dominate at the scrum but I think SL is too savvy to allow the lads to overplay that hand as we have in previous years. It’s a pity neither Lawes nor Croft are fit for this game.
    We need to start well this week and secure the re-starts.

  8. I still believe Paul doran jones should be in the squad at least maybe not starting but he is better than vunipola

  9. Got no bloody idea what team is going to turn up in green and gold, but I’m hoping it won’t be ‘Dingo’s deserters’.

    Regardless of their attitude, it is the weakest wallaby touring team in a long time, despite some genuine talent. Watch Hooper, Gill and Timani. Oh, and Tapui is a real talent, assuming the ball gets that far out!

    A loss here will hopefully call time on the failed Deans experiment.

    1. You’ve made me a little nervous, Cramps. There’s still a lot of quality in the Wallaby side, but people seem to be writing them off. Pocock is a huge loss because England can’t do anything without quick ball…don’t know much about Hooper but few people are in Pocock’s class.

      1. Far from confident today Hutch, and Hooper is still a rookie. But he stood out against the Argies and the All Blacks. There was talk that if Pocock was fit, that he could move to 8 so they could both be on the field.

        Hooper, Timani (big runner) and Tapui. Three guys who are unknown, talented, and could make all the difference today.

        But fark, after last week…

  10. HMMM! Andy had it right!. It is clear that International Rugby is a mind game!. Australia dont think they can beat ABs…so they dont. Booze up in Paris and they cant beat the French. But they always think they can beat England…so they will.

    England have to develop that winning mentality. Imagine the England side with Robshaw, Johnson, Palmer,Care,Flood, Farrell, Tuilagi, Sharples all injured and you have a rough idea of Australia without Horwill, Simmons, Cooper, Genia. Lealifano, McCabe, O’Connor, Pocock and Higginbotham. Yet they managed to win – Cummins 4th start, Phipps, 4th start,Tapui 5th start – being very raw.

    This tells us that winning confidence is in the player..not necessarily derived from his experience. Somehow Australians have this more fundamentally than England players….
    perhaps its immigrant genes, perhaps something else…..but England have to find players who have it and get them in. of course they have to be able to pass, tackle etc
    but these are subordinate to mental confidence.

    So who in the England camp has it… Robshaw, Tuilagi perhaps, Danny Care, Ashton….
    the others I dont know.


    Big Macka

    1. Macka, I would say the opposite – England believed they were going to win. Look at the summary of this very blog – England to win comfortably due to set piece dominance. The fans believed it and the team believed it. The fabled, and rarely implemented in the last decade, England dominance up front was all they needed. The English still believe they have a WC winning front five and further believe that the Aussie front five is always there for the smashing. Sheridan has built his entire career on some favourable refereeing performances against the Aussies. So I can’t see how they could have believed even more? The fact is that without the expected forward dominance they offered little else and so couldn’t win. Aus were good value for the win – yes, Eng could have kicked more pens but then Aus could have scored more points and Tuilagi’s try was very contentious.

      1. Andy did call it right, unlikely to get the scrum dominance without Hartley and Corbs. Marler went OK in the summer against Du Plessis, not dominant but competitive, and certainly nothing to suggest he would get stuffed by the Aussies. First time we had seen Youngs tested at this level, he was found badly lacking in the tight with the props getting separated from him.

        England aren’t currently good enough to win against top teams without scrum dominance and Saturday was the worst performance from an England scrum in a long time.

        At least we are unlikely to have draw Samoa in a RWC pool now as they have a good chance of being ranked top 8, looks like Wales need to win one of the next 2 games to avoid dropping to 3rd tier of seeds.

      2. I don’t think England confidence was that mis-placed. After all, they’d beaten Aus 2 from the last 3 times, both home and away, and each time had stuffed their scrum.

        After watching the French wallop them and the Aussies put in what was a dire performance, its unsurprising that they felt confident!

        What they forgot though was that you can never, ever write the Aussies off.

        BTW – little harsh on Sheridan. I don’t think Toulon are paying him and choosing him over Jenkins based on performances against the Aussies 5 or more years ago. If what you say is true, then he’d have been found out pretty damn quickly in the french league

  11. Danny Care was an interesting one the other day. Covering a lot of ground to make tackles, but generally out of position in the first place, allowing Australia in behind. And the kick, from the 22 (cardinal sin) that didn’t go out resulted in a try. Three steps to a pass, just didn’t perform on the big occasion.

    Robshaw I thought was a little uninspiring. Carried okay, but made the decision to kick for touch and that was naive.

    Cole, Tuiliagi and Parling looked good yesterday. I think Flood is often underrated. Mako Vunipola made a huge impact, but 2 caps off the bench is no measure of the man. I think Alex Goode was again putting the hard work in too.

    That said, I think the players there CAN do it, but they need to have it brought out of them. And quick.

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