Autumn Internationals 2018: England v New Zealand Prediction

All Blacks

This time last year, the Rugby world was desperate to see this showdown, as Eddie Jones’ England were in the ascendancy and talking such a good game about reaching number 1 in the rankings and winning the Rugby World Cup.

Now though, after a frankly dismal run of both results and performances in 2018, there is only hope for England fans rather than expectation.

With a quick glance at the team sheets, it’s not easy to see any weaknesses in the New Zealand line up, and with little indication of what England’s gameplan actually is these days, it’s hard to see how they can beat the best team in the world.

Ben Moon1Karl Tu’inukuafe
Dylan Hartley2Codie Taylor
Kyle Sinckler3Owen Franks
Maro Itoje4Sam Whitelock
George Kruis5Brodie Retallick
Brad Shields6Liam Squire
Sam Underhill7Ardie Savea
Mark Wilson8Kieran Read
Ben Youngs9Aaron Smith
Owen Farrell10Beauden Barrett
Jonny May11Rieko Ioane
Ben Te’o12Sonny Bill Williams
Henry Slade13Jack Goodhue
Chris Ashton14Ben Smith
Elliot Daly15Damian McKenzie
Jamie George16Dane Coles
Alec Hepburn17Ofa Tuungafasi
Harry Williams18Nepo Laulala
Charlie Ewels19Scott Barrett
Courtney Lawes20Matt Todd
Danny Care21TJ Perenara
George Ford22Richie Mo’unga
Jack Nowell23Ryan Crotty

It seems ridiculous to say, but if you had to name a weakness, it is probably Beauden Barrett. Whilst he can be the best in the world in attack and in kicking from hand, he is prone to an occasional off day with the boot when kicking for goal, and he might just have one of those on Saturday.

But with England so generous in their penalty offerings, there will likely be plenty of opportunities, and it won’t take long before Damian McKenzie takes over (if he doesn’t take the first one), and Richie Mo’unga is waiting on the bench anyway.

For England to win, they need to harry New Zealand with a rush defence that gives nothing away, and puts every ball-carrier under pressure, forcing mistakes and turnovers. There must be no easy yards through midfield, because New Zealand won’t be nearly as profligate in attack as the Springboks last weekend. They need to be disciplined throughout with no silly penalties, and they need to be clinical in taking any chance that comes their way.

Unfortunately for the home team, every single one of those seems beyond them, and I think the All Blacks will win.

Of course, they might have picked up food poisoning from a Twickenham curry house this week, or had a rampant norovirus tearing through the camp – you never know, but you can’t predict that sort of thing.

New Zealand by 13

29 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2018: England v New Zealand Prediction

  1. You’ve put last week’s England team in the comparison. Not that it will make any difference to the result.

    1. Matt B, perhaps Hutch had picked up food poisoning from a Twickenham curry house or had a rampant norovirus tearing through his guts?

  2. No obvious area where England have superiority – but we were saying much the same thing last week.
    England will be better for having a run out. They’ve kept changes to a minimum, so the units should function better and a few individuals will be better for game time.
    Dont think a win is completely out of the question. Its unlikely in that we will have to play at a level above what we’ve managed all year. Plus, you feel that NZ will have to be a touch under par.
    Valiant failure may be the best we can hope for.
    NZ by 12.

  3. As Hansen says he’s selected 2 playmakers to play a hi speed very open attacking game at a pace England will not keep up with.NZ could really open the floodgates.I expect them to
    put at least 30 points on the board.How many we get is anyone’s guess

  4. Just wanted to throw something in here, upon reading Steve Hansen wants to play an open expansive game did they play the same against Japan where New Zealand leaked 5 tries?

        1. That’s ok Mr B, every little bit (of info) helps? You’re right about those leaked tries though. Unhappy Hsnsen!

  5. Understand Moon, Underhill, but why Ashton now? Jones alluded to his wanting someone to sniff out tries. As Ashton fits that bill, why wasn’t included last week? Anyway, not much change otherwise, especially in midfield. Much been prev made of England injuries, but NZ are also missing their 1st choice prop, hooker & 7. Unless the 2 play maker thing is perm, then McKenzie is also a reserve, maybe Goodhue too. So, it’s not just Jones who has injuries, omissions. Anyway, in theory it should by an AB win. If the NZ forwards get near parity in possession, then they could run in a handful. They are just better than most, most of the time, @ making effective use of the ball. Stop that possession & the opposition have a chance. Looks like NZ’ll run @ England from the get go with DM @ the back. England will have noted. They will need to retain possession & score tries. They must also cut out penalties & over long kicking. Barrett’s apparent frailty off the tee has been much aired, however, he kicked 11/12 in his last 2/3 games following the SA loss. Should be a Kiwi win, but you never know on a given day.

      1. Leon, I’m sure we will have to endure a sermon if as expected NZ win.

        Just in case, though, I want to know where the AB’s are eating tonight as I might want to avoid that eatery for a few days……

        1. A tad defensive Staggy. Nevertheless, you might also find it a tad difficult to find 1of my gloating posts here. Happy days.

  6. Bookies have NZ as 14 point favourites. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for EJ! Personally I think that this is light. If everything goes well for England they should be able to cover that but if even one thing goes wrong and I expect it to, then I can see a NZ procession.

    1. Think he can still save himself with a win over Aus. If we beat Japan then that’s 3/4 for the autumn and that is a decent return
      There’s no shame in losing to the best team in the world – and even if it is a kicking he has the injury get out of jail free card
      If he does end up with three wins, he should send Malcolm Marx a nice bunch of flowers for being the man who saved his job

  7. I don’t know how this match will go but is it all that important as Eddie regards the Autumn Internationals as “sparing matchs”. He had quite a reaction at the end of the Springbok match for it only being a “sparing match”

    1. Peter we’re ten months out from the World cup. I know EJ likes to play the cheeky tinker but even with the injuries we have, we should be much more prepared and settled than we appear to be.
      Do you imagine the Kiwis will be satisfied with anything less than a first class effort and a win?
      We were bloody lucky last week . Things just ain’t good enough.

      1. You certainly have to question some of EJ’s selection history and at the same time be concerned with his sticking with some players beyond their best before date. To me if M. Brown wasn’t going to figure in RWC plans why take him to SA ? Is Hartley going to be in Japan or will he finally cut him loose ? And I think there are more puzzling choices perhaps too many.

      2. Just to play Devils’ Advocate for a bit…I don’t think England are satisfied with anything other than a first class effort and a win either.
        Let’s not forget that 12 months out from the world cup, the Kiwis lost to a SA team (that no one really rated as contenders), at home in Wellington.
        They’d not lost in Wellington to SA in 20 years, not lost at home for 39 matches and it was the highest score against NZ in NZ.
        They then went to SA and squeaked past them by the narrowest of margins to win by 2 – bloody lucky some might say…
        Over 80 mins, there is only so much of a role luck can play. SA may have been off the boil last week, but that was still a fantastic win – esp for a severely depleted pack against one of the best and biggest packs in world rugby. That England hung on to be in a position to win after that awful first half is a testment to the will and stubborness of this team.

  8. Just because SA are inept with 60% of ball, don’t expect NZ to be. At 60% they will win running away by 30. If England did an Ireland and held NZ to 40% then NZ would still win by 5.

    1. Hmmm….in SA’s win against NZ, the Kiwis had 75% of posession and 79% of territory – any yet they lost.
      In the game the Lions won, the Kiwis had 61% possession and 58% territory
      Not that I expect England to win if they gift that much to NZ but its not quite as simple as you make out.
      And I’m sure I could find a number of stats where NZ had much less ball and still won.
      In fact, I wonder whether a counter-attacking game without much ball suits the ABs (and esp. Barrett) more than a game with lots of ball that requires a bit more structure
      Just musing…

      1. Pablito, you could possibly find the stats you seek on ESPN Scrum? Of course stats can also be misleading or used to reframe.


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