- England has not lost back-to-back matches at Twickenham since 2013
- Fly-half Owen Farrell kicked the perfect game against Wales
- Australia’s line-out is struggling
- The men in white have won the pair’s last three meetings at Rugby World Cup’s
- Stuart Lancaster’s men simply have to win
Following England’s implosion against Wales last weekend the pressure is on Stuart Lancaster’s men as they must overcome Australia at Twickenham this Saturday to realistically retain a chance of making it to the quarter-finals.
This game is as big as it gets in international rugby and with that challenge looming we have identified five plausible reasons that suggest England’s hopes of hoisting the Webb Ellis Cup have not entirely snuffed it yet.
1. Recent History
The men in white a have a good record of bouncing back from defeats with the latest example being the 21-13 win against Ireland at Twickenham last month, which followed a disheartening 25-20 loss to France only two weeks prior.
In fact, England have not lost back-to-back games on home soil since 2012 when they were beaten by Australia and South Africa, although even on this occasion they bounced back to beat New Zealand at the South-West London stadium in the following match.
England has also won four of the last five meetings with the Wallabies, with three wins and one defeat at Twickenham while also tasting success in Sydney in 2010.
England’s fly-half enjoyed a perfect kicking display against Wales, slotting all of his attempts from the tee between the posts. In what will likely be a tight game where every kick could be crucial Australia come into this game in wretched form from the tee.
Despite thrashing Uruguay in their last match, the Wallabies Quade Cooper missed six out of their ten conversions, which could be the difference between winning and losing against England.
They were better in their opening game against Fiji with Bernard Foley at No.10, but even he lacked composure on occasions, missing a simple conversion from just to the left of the posts.
This area of play is one where England are clearly more proficient than Australia.
3. The Wallabies Lineout
Australia to begin with were having major issues with their scrum and, as a result, recruited former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma as their scrum coach for this year’s World Cup.
However, with the scrum operating more efficiently, the lineout has begun to play up. Against Fiji when they were under pressure in the second half they lost four of their throws successively at one point while England, against the same opposition, won all of theirs.
This area, therefore, could be a place where Stuart Lancaster’s men could put some stress on Australia as they try to get the upper hand.
Although the Wallabies improved against Uruguay, winning all of their lineouts, they weren’t under much pressure from their mainly unprofessional South American opponents.
4. World Cup History
England furthermore has the edge over Australia in Rugby World Cup history, winning the pairs three most recent clashes in 1995, famously in 2003 and most recently in 2007. However, all three of those games were incredibly tight with the winning margin twice being three points and once being two points.
Additionally in Rugby World Cup history the primary hosts have never gone out during the pool stage, and England will be hoping not to be the first. Wales in 1999 and France in 2007 both lost games but would eventually go on to advance to the quarter-finals nevertheless.
5. Determination and Spirit
The game is win or bust for England while the pressure is not so much on Australia, who still have Warren Gatland’s Wales to play. It could be Stuart Lancaster’s last big game in charge and Chris Robshaw’s as Captain, meaning the pair will be determined to win at all costs.
This enthusiasm could help England to victory, but it’s important they also maintain composure as the Wallabies have unbelievable pace on the counter-attack. England will be holding nothing back, and hopefully that will be enough