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A 30-28 score line in the opening test both did and didn’t flatter England. On the one hand, the Wallabies were 30-14 to the good heading into the final minutes of play, and with the result already wrapped up, the tourists put some gloss on the score board with two late converted tries.
With that said, England dominated proceedings for the most part until a bullish 15 minutes from the hosts saw them come from five points down to 16 points ahead, despite being a man down.
It looked to be England’s game to lose when star fly-half Quade Cooper pulled up in the warm-up, before Tom Banks and Allan Ala’alatoa went off injured early in the first half. It went from bad to worse for Dave Rennie’s men when Darcy Swain saw red, though they managed to stifle their visitors before exploding in the final 15 minutes to put the game to bed.
It’s a poor result from an England perspective whichever way you look at it, ending their eight game winning streak over their old rivals despite the injury depletion and the red card. However, they can take positives from the balance of play and the fact that the hosts are a longer price than the opening test despite coming away with victory is a firm reflection of that.
The Red Roses’ away form is a slight issue still, however, and as well as they may have played on the road they’ve now lost five of their last six such matches, with the only exception coming against Italy, so that’s a serious issue for Eddie Jones at the moment.
Australia To Win
An issue for the Wallabies is that Cooper is likely to miss the rest of the series and as good as Noah Lolesio was off the tee, he struggled with the ball in hand of the most part, so that will be an area for England to focus on.
Ala’alatoa is also out, but the return of Taniela Tupou could spell curtains for England if he can have his usual impact. The prop is one of the most dangerous players in world rugby at the moment and will be fresh having not featured in the opener.
Henry Arundell set pulses racing for the visitors when he came on last weekend, and seemed a likely starter for this test, though in a radical selection, Eddie Jones has opted for debutant Tommy Freeman on the wing and the uncapped Guy Porter at outside centre.
He’s also dropped Danny Care in favour of a first start for Jack van Poortvliet. This is a huge risk from the England coach, especially with Porter coming up against the battle-ram that is Hunter Paisami.
Ultimately England’s away record isn’t a coincidence, and their lack of potency away from Twickenham was on show in the last test so we’re happy to get behind the hosts in what is, on paper, a stronger side than they fielded last time out.
AUSTRALIA TO WIN
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