England v Australia in Perth
Venue: Subiaco Oval
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Whilst not quite reaching the intensity of the Ashes cricket series between these two nations, a rugby test match still brings out a bit of the colonial boys v the home country feelings. Both teams certainly have a lot to prove.
Robbie Deans, the Aussie coach, is having to rapidly build this young side into a World Cup finals contender. They have a little over a year to get it right and there are promising signs. Injuries has certainly made Deans' job difficult and the retirement of world-class flanker Smith has left the team vulnerable in the loose play. In fact only Elsom remains from the starting 15 who played England last November. Veteran Nathan Sharp is back, thankfully, to give the Australian pack much needed experience. Still, the opportunity is there for younger players to make their mark in this game and to force their way into the Australian side next year.
England, frankly, are playing poorly and have done so, well, since the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Their huge and experienced forward pack would have few equals in the world. This pack has been largely kept together for this tour. This is an area in which England should dominate. But those backs! For the money that is behind this England team, and with players like Wilkinson, the flare and the skill are frankly just missing. I have found watching England play just boring! Step up England and produce!
Last Five Encounters
07.11.2009 Australia 18-9 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
15.11.2008 Australia 28-14 at Twickenham (Cook Cup)
06.10.2007 England 12-10 at Marseilles (World Cup, Quarter-final)
17.06.2006 Australia 43-18 in Melbourne (Cook Cup)
11.06.2006 Australia 34-3 in Sydney (Cook Cup)
Australia hold the Cook Cup, symbol of rivalry between these two nations. They have held it since June 2006. This is the first time England has played a test match in Perth.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-England 6th, Australia 8th
IRB Rankings-Australia 3rd (85.56), England 7th (80.10)
Prediction: It won't be pretty, but England to grunt it by 3
15 James O'Connor, 14 Digby Ioane, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, Capt. 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 James Slipper, 18 Mark Chisholm, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Will Genia, 21 Peter Hynes, 22 Kurtley Beale.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
15 Ben Foden, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Chris Ashton, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Lewis Moody, Capt. 6 Tom Croft, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 David Wilson, 18 Courtney Lawes, 19 James Haskell, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Mathew Tait.
Head Coach: Martin Johnson