It’s the business end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup as the quarter finals get underway on Saturday, and first up it’s England vs. Australia in what is set to be a mouthwatering encounter.
England have had it easy so far in Japan. They were untroubled in Pool C with three bonus point wins from three and then had what would have been their toughest game of the Pools called off due to Typhoon Hagibis. Extra time then to prepare for what will be their toughest test yet.
After a hard fought win over Fiji in their opening Pool game Australia bounced back from defeat against Wales with convincing victories over Uruguay and Georgia. Enough to secure second spot in Pool D and set up a quarter final clash with old foes England.
The Wallabies have been nowhere near their best and they’ve lost their last six head to heads against England. But Eddie Jones knows all too well not to underestimate his home country. Especially a side coached by Michael Cheika who’ll do all he can to create a siege mentality, even if there isn’t one to be had. Therefore England must be savvy and not get sucked into any mind games on or off the field.
Billy and Mako Vunipola, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade could all return from injury for England, while both George Ford and Owen Farrell are expected to start in the midfield.
Australia could welcome back Reece Hodge. The fly half has missed the last three Pool games through suspension after a high tackle during their opener against Fiji. Fullback Beale is a doubt after picking up a head injury against Georgia.
England were 37-18 winners the last time the two sides met in 2018. Jonny May scored the first try in that games and he’s 7/1 to repeat that on Saturday.
All three of England’s last three wins over the Wallabies have been by 16 points or more and it’s 7/4 for England to win by 15+ points or 15/8 for England -14 on the handicap.
England are 4/11 to win in 80 minutes, which seems very short, while Australia are as big as 11/4 in places. That looks great value for an Aussie side well capable of raising their game. Also, England have been nowhere near their best and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world to see Eddie Jones’ side get turned over on Saturday.