They say hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. On Saturday England will have to face the wrath not of the women of Wigan, how could they be angry with Toby Flood after he referred to the area as the home of the supermodel, instead Flood and Co will face off against a wounded Wallabies side scorned not only from their convincing defeat at the hands of the French last week but also from the subsequent criticisms that have come their way.
Flood’s comments were on the back of some light jaunting between the sides ahead of the game with Digby Loane saying that the English wingers were pretty.
The press in Australia have been too busy rounding on Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and the French performance to have time to focus on the clash with England so the build-up to the game has been relatively low key.
Pretty the English wingers may well be and they will have plenty of time to work on their poses and pouts with a tough, brutal, sometimes bloody clash expected. The forwards will be kings in Twickenham on saturday and the boot of Flood and Beale the crucial to any success.
The recalled Ben Alexander and the injury free Sitaleki Timani will add more sturdiness to the Australian forward line and while England will be reliant on the work rate and strength of Dan Cole & Co it will be the abilities of Flood and full back Alex Goode that Stuart Lancaster will be looking to unlock the visitors defence. A fascinating game is in store for the neutral and with World Cup rankings and a Cook cup also up for grabs both sides will be going all out for the win.
England make only change to the team that beat Fiji with Chris Ashton returning to the wing following suspension. The 25 year old replaces Ugo Monye, who drops out of the match day 22. The return of Aston sees Charlie Sharples, scorer of two tries last weekend, moving to left wing.
Australia have missed the presence of the injured James O’Connor, David Pocock, James Horwill & Will Genia as well as the suspended pair of Rob Simmons and Adam Thomson however the return of the aforementioned Timani and the recalled Alexander are a boost fo the Australians. Under pressure coach Robbie Deans appears to have gone for versatility with his backline with Berrick Barnes, normally a centre, starting at full back and Nick Cummins and Ioane playing on opposite wings
Ones to watch:
England: Chris Ashton, love him or loathe him, the Saracen’s winger will punish you if given space. Ashton has scored three tries against Australia and if Alex Goode and Flood can capitalise on the work of the scrum and forwards then he could add to that tally. Ashton missed the win over Fiji through suspension and will be eager to stretch the legs and add to the three tries he has already scored in the Aviva Premiership
Australia: Kurtley Beale, despite all our talk of a tough brutal physical encounter firstly we pick a winger as the English one to watch and then we pick a number 10. In Truth you would expect big games from Sitaleki Timanj, back from injury, Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu, Ben Alexander and Nathan Sharpe as they face up to a very physical and strong English 8 however in a game where the boot will be crucial Beale will need to be at his best and take whatever comes his way.
Prediction: Australia were stuffed last weekend in Paris while England hit a record score without reaching top gear against Fiji all of which points to an English victory. It may not be that straight forward though, the Wallabies are at their best when the daggers are out and I expect them to make life very difficult for Stuart Lancaster’s young side. Australia remember came very close to beating New Zealand recently (the sides drew but it will still enough to end the All Blacks pursuit of a 17th straight win) and if they can come close to that form then I expect them to sneak it by less than 7.
England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Charlie Sharples, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Mike Brown.
Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Digby Ioane, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Drew Mitchell.