Written by @QuintenLetcher for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
England vs Australia | Saturday 02 November | Twickenham | 16:30
The Wallabies waltz into London this weekend set to kick off their end-of-year tour by taking on the resilient English at Twickenham. The tourists will be hoping to retain the Cook Cup that they secured last November with a hard fought 14-20 victory over the English, but a lot has changed for both sides since then. Stuart Lancaster will more than likely feel his side has the slight mental edge over the Aussies this weekend, after the British and Irish Lions managed to come away with the spoils down in Australia earlier this year, taking the series 2-1. With seven current English players involved in the series deciding clash in Sydney, the Wallabies may be out looking for retribution this Saturday. The Wallabies have battled with form this year, having lost seven of their ten games this season. Fresh-faced national coach Ewen McKenzie currently harbours a woeful 28.57% win ratio. Can they turn things around with a successful tour up north, or will things only get worse for the Aussies from here on in?
To Win (80mins)
England (-4.5) 9/10
Australia (+4.5) 9/10
Stuart Lancaster is expected to reward the hard work of Lee Dickson with a starting scrumhalf berth this weekend, after impressive performances for his club Northampton so far this season. Ben Youngs looks likely to fill the spot on the bench to provide cover for Dickson. Big number twelve Billy Twelvetrees looks set to team up with newcomer Joel Tomkins in the midfield, while Marland Yarde, Chris Ashton and Mike Brown are likely to make up the back three. Up front injuries to Alex Corbisiero and Geoff Parling mean Mako Vunipola could crack the nod for loosehead prop, with Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes likely to team up in the engine room.
Ewen McKenzie has decided to strip James Horwill of the captaincy following some poor performances from the big forward. Ben Mowen takes over the skipper duties with Quade Cooper named as his deputy. There was talk of Horwill being dropped from the side altogether, but with Rob Simmons out injured, Horwill will team up with Sitaleki Timani in the second row this weekend. Will Genia has firmly cemented his spot in the scrumhalf role following two great performances towards the end of the Rugby Championship.
VERDICT: England (-4.5) 9/10
Stuart Lancaster has helped this young English side grow into quite the formidable force over the past two years, probably their greatest achievement to date was their glorious victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham last season. They now sit in third place on the IRB rankings, with their opponents for this weekend trailing behind in fourth. England have proven they can beat the best when they get the basics right, and with Australia being far from their best at the moment I don’t think they are going to be giving the home side too hard a time this Saturday. The English by 7.
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