June Internationals: Australia v Italy Preview


Australia take on Italy out in Brisbane this Saturday morning. 

A wounded Australian squad will be looking to atone for a dismal showing against Scotland when they take on the Italians at the Suncorp. The visitors also come into this one off a rather disappointing performance, which saw them downed by Fiji via a last-minute Ben Volavola drop goal.

Australia v Italy | Saturday 24 June | Suncorp Stadium | 07:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Australia 1/50 | Draw 35/1 | Italy 11/1
Australia (-25.5) 9/10 | Italy (+25.5) 9/10

You know things are bad when a fan’s Facebook rant goes viral and your national coach is left to do public relations duties. This is the scenario Michael Cheika found himself in this week with amateur rugby player Jack Quigley’s statement about how the Wallabies lack heart striking a nerve with Australian rugby fans around the globe. In fairness to Cheika, the Wallaby mentor handled the situation with aplomb, phoning the aggrieved fan and using Mr Quigley’s post as a motivational tool for his side – Cheika has actually gone as far as to print out the post and hang it up in the Wallaby dressing room.

I think this whole saga will have a galvanising effect on the Wallaby camp, who will know last week’s showing was one of the poorest Aussie displays on home soil. We can expect a big response from the hosts, who will be led by Stephen Moore. The Reds hooker has played off the bench in Australia’s previous June Internationals, and his captaincy skills were severely missed.

Other changes to the Australian starting XV see Rob Horne, Lopeti Timani and Sefa Naivalu replace Tevita Khuindraini, Scott Higginbottom and Eto Nabuli.

Last year’s victory over the ‘Boks must seem light years away for this Italian squad who are yet to win a game in 2017. A poor showing in this year’s Six Nations has been followed by June defeats to Scotland and Fiji. Things are unlikely to get better for Connor O’Shea's men, who are likely to bare the brunt of an Australian backlash.

Like Cheika, O’Shea has opted to switch things around for this one. The former Irish international has made three changes to his squad, with two of these alterations coming in the starting XV. Burly South African-born eighth man Andries van Schalkwyk is handed a start alongside scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi.

Verdict: Australia (-25.5) 9/10
I’m expecting a massive performance from the Australians here. They need to redeem themselves in the eyes of their fans and a large victory would help a bit. Get on the minus with confidence!

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Written by  Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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