It’s the first of the QBE Internationals and a time for England fans up and down the country to reach peak excitement levels. As hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 2015 they need to show the southern hemisphere sides they’re serious, play well and set down a marker to the rest of the world. But the Wallabies could be hurting from the Lions tour and they’ll want revenge.
This generation of English rugby now has to prove they can mix it with the best in the world and show they’re ready for the challenges that lie on the road to the World Cup. There are some new faces in this team, including Joel Tomkins in the centre who makes his debut, and first starts for Marland Yarde and Billy Vunipola. Alex Corbisiero misses out which is a blow after the damage he did to the Australian scrum with the Lions but England won’t let that affect them and they’ve got plenty of power in the pack with the Vunipola brothers both starting.
Australia still pose a threat though and the strength and pace of Israel Folau could cause England problems. However, even in the words of Folau himself this tour is a building phase for Australian rugby to see how far they have improved. And in their previous two games they recorded an impressive away trouncing of Argentina and then scored a record number of points away in New Zealand so the signs of improvement are there.
Three wins out of three would really show that England are serious contenders. It’s time for them to make opposition teams afraid of playing in England – and that could become crucial in the run up to 2015’s World Cup.
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