Saturday, 6 October 2007

Rugby World Cup: Australia V England Match Preview

The 2007 Rugby World Cup D Day is upon us and within 24 hours we will know the first teams going through to the semi-finals. For some of us it has been a long wait since 2003.

The England V Australia game may be closer than everyone expects. There has been a set back to the white and red camp with Andy Farrell withdrawing on Friday due to injury - but really is that such a bad thing for England? The front row should have ascendancy in the English pack against the wobblies and the locks Ben Kay and Simon Shaw should be able to match their Australian counterparts.

But here is where English ascendancy may end. Australia at the breakdown will have it over the lumbering English loose forwards and the Ozzie backline (the most intelligent backline in the world -according to nearly everyone - although with the selfish Tuquiri included I might beg to differ slightly) should run Ashton's planned formations ragged. No-one could argue the class of Gregan, Mortlock and Latham, and with the next Wallaby superstar in waiting back from injury, Ashley-Cooper, I think the English backline defensively and on action will be found more than a little wanting.

But - if Dad's Army creak into action and strangle the life out of the game by playing a stick it up the jumper kind of style; if Wilkinson can give his team more confidence and momentum with a few timely dropgoals; If Sackey can pop up in the right places again; If the English front row can ruffle a few Matt Dunning feathers: then this game may not be so clear cut as everyone expects.

Australia will either win this by a country mile, or England will take them very, very close.
Ruggerblogger prediction: Australia 23 - England 16

1 comment:

Matt @ Green and Gold Rugby said...

It's been interesting - at the beginning of the week all the 'experts' were saying we were going to smash them, now the likes of Lynagh and Ella are putting out a pom alert. I believe the weather forecast isn't great either.

I'm more nervous about this game than what might come after, should we win. Strangely it feels like there's more riding on this match (or maybe that's just for me living in pommieland).

Go the wallabies!