England v Australia in Sydney (Cook Cup)
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
England's coach Martin Johnson will want to reestablish England's place in the rugby world by winning here in Sydney as he did as captain of the 2007 side that defeated Australia on this ground. More alarmingly though will be England's record against Southern hemisphere sides since 2007-10 straight losses!
A new-look Aussie side handed England a lesson on playing with spirit and flare when faced with a daunting forward mauling last weekend. Robbie dean's is molding this Australian team into a spirited and inventive side that may well take the New Zealanders and South African's by surprise in the Tri Nations this year.
What can England do? They will dominate up front in the set pieces for sure. But I suspect Australia will have an edge elsewhere on the park. The English will again miss Jonny Wilkinson's generalship and defence qualities as he sits on the bench again. He is not in his best form yes but there looked to be nobody else who can direct play like he can. Big mistake England!
Last Five Encounters
12.06.2010 Australia 27-17 in Perth
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)
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 7th, England 8th
IRB Rankings-Australia 3rd (85.71), England 6th (79.95)
Prediction: England provides the power, Australia provides the flare, and will win by 15 points.
J O'Connor (WA Western Force); D Mitchell (NSW Waratahs), R Horne (NSW Waratahs), M Giteau (ACT Brumbies), D Ioane (Queensland Reds); Q Cooper (Queensland Reds), W Genia (Queensland Reds); B Daley (Queensland Reds), S Faingaa (Queensland Reds), S Ma'afu (ACT Brumbies), D Mumm (NSW Waratahs), N Sharpe (WA Western Force), R Elsom, Capt. (ACT Brumbies), D Pocock (WA Western Force), R Brown (WA Western Force)
Replacements: H Edmonds (ACT Brumbies), J Slipper (Queensland Reds), M Chisholm (ACT Brumbies), M Hodgson (Western Force), L Burgess (NSW Waratahs), B Barnes (NSW Waratahs), A Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies)
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
B Foden (Northampton); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tindall (Gloucester), S Hape (Bath), C Ashton (Northampton); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); T Payne (Wasps), S Thompson (Brive, France), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais, France), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody, Capt. (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins)
Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), J Haskell (Stade Francais, France), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon, France), D Armitage (London Irish)
Head Coach: Martin Johnson