England v Australia - Teams and Prediction
TWICKENHAM FACTOR: Dave Rennie has promised his patched-up Wallabies will “throw everything” at Eddie Jones’ adventurous-looking England side in a bid to end their woeful recent sequence against the old enemy.
He may be a New Zealander but Rennie reckons that he understands perfectly that this is a fixture which has a special resonance for Australians – and he wants to change the narrative of England’s domination in the Jones era at Twickenham on Saturday.
“We’re well aware of the rivalry. Dates back 200 and something years,” Rennie said.
“But certainly guys who’ve been in the mix a long time like Hoops [Michael Hooper] and Slips [James Slipper] have talked a lot about it this week – but we’re not getting caught up with history either,” Rennie explained.
Rennie reckons that the fact that many of his players have never had the chance to experience a Twickenham international before will actually be a help rather than a hindrance as the Wallabies seek to end their seven-match losing sequence against Jones’ England.
“We’ve talked a lot about embracing it – it’s going to be noisy, it’ll be ‘Swing Low’ being sung in the crowd – but you’ve got to get excited and embrace that sort of situation,” said Rennie.
“It’s a massive game and a great opportunity for us, playing a great England side at Twickenham – and we’re going to throw everything at them.”
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Rennie has studied England’s innovative line-up with exciting Marcus Smith pulling the strings at No.10, Owen Farrell at 12 and Manu Tuilagi picked for a rare start on the wing – but he’s not overly surprised.
“I think they’re just trying to get their best backs on the field, aren’t they? I think you can guarantee they’ll move around a bit. I imagine Manu will end up defending in midfield – there’ll be hoping and changing a bit but it’s a very strong side.
“You look at that inside group – 9, 10, 12, 13 – all very good kickers of the ball and I think that’ll be a very important part of the game for them as well.
“I’d almost ignore the numbers on their backs – I think they’ll mix things up and we’ll certainly see Manu playing a fair bit in midfield.”
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Eddie Jones, the man who’s guided England to seven straight convincing wins over his home country swears only an Aussie could truly understand just how psyched up Rennie’s Wallabies will be to end that losing streak at Twickenham.
After unveiling a powerful, innovative-looking side on Thursday, Jones, in his best combative cheeky chappy mode, noted: “I know as an Australian – and it’s probably hard for the English to understand – what an important game this is for Australia.
“Our country started as convicts being sent down there, so we have always looked up and looked at England as the mother country.
“I remember as a kid, we’d stand around for the anthem and it was God Save the Queen. We were the smaller country of England – so when we played them in sport, it was an opportunity to prove we were not.
“We have a bit of an inferiority complex against the English, the Australians, so they’ll want to take us to where they want to.
“This is a game where Australians don’t go away. This is the game they want to win.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Olympics, Test cricket, rugby league … this is the game that defines their season.”
Asked if he really believed that, Jones grinned: “I think I am still Australian, mate – so I understand how Australians think. It will be.”
Jones admitted he’d used the same ‘little brother’ mentality when he was Wallabies coach.
“Certainly not too successfully. England had the wood on us. While we got some victories, we didn’t have as many as we’d have liked.
“But I know how Australia think. They just won’t go away. They will keep coming. Because this is the game.
“As much as they’d have liked to win [against Scotland] at Murrayfield on Sunday, this is the game they’ve targeted. This is the game they want.
“We understand they won’t go away. We understand we will have to be in the game for every minute of the game.”
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Players to watch:
For England: The big talking point is the selection of Marcus Smith at flyhalf. Having played his first two games against the United States and Canada, Saturday’s outing will be a step up for the 22-year-old. Smith’s inclusion means that captain Owen Farrell starts at inside centre, while Manu Tuilagi gets a surprise outing on the wing. The pack is unchanged but, with Joe Marler ruled out after a positive COVID test, Sale Sharks’ uncapped 21-year-old Bevan Rodd is drafted in among the replacements. Uncapped scrumhalf Raffi Quirke is also on the bench.
For Australia: Dave Rennie has been forced to shuffle his front tow after concussion symptoms ruled out both Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa. However, despite being light on the tighthead options, Rennie has shifted James Slipper across, start Angus Bell in the No.1 and pair Ollie Hoskins with Tom Robertson as the front-row finishers. In the backline, Paris-based Kurtley Beale has been recalled for a 94th Test. James O’Connor who was hot and cold in his return to the No.10 last weekend, will play a vital role in the team’s set-up.
Head to head
Last 10 encounters
@rugby365com: England by three points
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Manu Tuilagi, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Alex Dombrandt, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Raffi Quirke, 23 Max Malins.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Tom Wright, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 James Slipper, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Noah Lolesio, 23 Izaia Perese.
Date: Saturday, November 13
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 17.30 (17.30 GMT; 04.30 AEDT Sunday, November 14)
Expected weather: Cold and cloudy with a high of 13°C and a low of 10°C
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Source: AAP & rugby365com