Two of the oldest enemies in rugby meet on Saturday morning in the quarter final of the World Cup with neither side needing any introduction for this epic clash.
England have a decent record against the Wallabies when it comes to World Cup encounters, from Rob Andrew’s match-winning drop goal in 1995, to Jonny Wilkinson’s infamous clincher in the 2003 final.
But Australia did win this tournament on English soil back in 1991, while a 33-13 victory at Twickenham four years ago saw the hosts painfully eliminated from the tournament in the group stages.
So where this won be won and lost? and who will be the key players in what is sure to be another World Cup classic?
Farrell to pull the strings
England coach Eddie Jones has sprung a huge surprise by announcing that Owen Farrell will start at fly-half on Saturday, dropping George Ford and bringing in Henry Slade to join Manu Tuilagi in midfield.
This means, like four years ago against Wales, Farrell will pull the strings as Jones reverts to his first-choice midfield from the Six Nations, in which England’s captain played inside centres Slade and Tuilagi.
Backs will be key for both sides
England’s back line has stood pretty firm so far in Japan, conceding just 20 points from their three games so far while, in contrast, Australia have seen 68 points put past them in four matches, including 29 in their defeat to Wales.
Australia’s philosophy going into this one may well be that the best form of defence is attack as they boast dangerous names such as Marika Koroibet, Kurtley Beale, Samu Kerevi, but if England can keep them quiet they will have more than a chance.
Strength in numbers
Traditionally, England have fared better when it comes to scrummaging due to the fact that it is such a prominent part of the game in the northern hemisphere and that could be a key factor in this intriguing matchup.
That said, However, in recent years the Wallabies’ scrum has improved significantly with coach Michael Cheika placing greater emphasis on this vital part of the game meaning that whover hold their own in this battle could well come out on top.
Expect both sides to take the points when they can
Wales showed what building pressure on Australia can do by racking up points early from the boot and once again any points which are available will no doubt be taken.
The kicking ability of Bernard Foley and Christian Lealiifano is probably not as strong as Owen Farrell’s, so England will look to press home this advantage at every opportunity.
Jones has a point to prove
England coach Eddie Jones was sacked by the Australian Rugby Union in 2005 after a run of poor results as Wallabies coach and the 59-year-old would love nothing more than to get one over his country of birth this weekend.
But that is not his only beef as Jones and his opposite number Michael Cheika were teammates at Randwick in the 1980s with the now England main man having the edge over his countryman in terms of results since he arrived at Twickenham in 2015.
*Odds subject to change
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