By Iain Spragg
What a difference a year (and five weeks) makes. The last time Australia rocked up at Twickenham the Wallabies humbled their hosts 33-13 to send England crashing out of the World Cup, a humiliating result which saw the boys in white become the first host nation to fail to make the knockout stages.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster picked up his P45 after the horror at HQ, Eddie Jones was parachuted in to pick up the pieces and the rescue mission was on.
England had slumped to an embarrassing eighth in the world rankings when Jones signed on the dotted line but since the straight-talking Aussie took charge and began ruffling a few feathers, England have won the Grand Slam for the first time since 2003, whitewashed the Wallabies in the three Test series Down Under this summer and are now number two in the world.
Oh yes, they’ve also clocked up 12 wins out of 12 in 2016.
Australia in contrast have been heading in completely the opposite direction since the World Cup. A paltry six victories from 14 Tests this year compared to 10 from 12 in 2015 tells its own sorry story and the end of what has become an annus horribilis cannot come soon enough for the tired tourists.
It is little surprise then that Jones’ rampant England side are 7/25 to rub more salt into the wound and triumph at Twickenham on Saturday. Optimistic Australian fans can get 27/10 on Michael Chieka’s demoralised team defying the form book and springing a surprise.
There has been only one draw in the 47 previous Tests between the old rivals – a 15-15 stalemate back in 1997 – and it’s a potentially lucrative 25/1 on there being no winner after 80 minutes at Twickers this weekend. England scored an impressive 106 points in the summer as they won a series on Australian soil for the first time – 44 of them coming in the third Test thriller in Sydney – and the Red Rose are 13/10 to continue their recent dominance over the Wallabies and win by 13 points or more. A home victory by eight points or more is priced at 18/25.
It’s been tries galore for the England faithful since Jones became the commander-in-chief, 42 of them this year and counting, and the last time the Red Rose failed to cross the whitewash was back in March 2015 against Ireland in Dublin. That makes for an impressive run of 21 try-scoring Tests and as a result, they’re 4/1 to open the scoring on Saturday with a five-pointer at HQ.
The Aussies failed to score a try as recently August this year when they came up against the All Blacks in Wellington and the tourists are 6/1 to first trouble the scorers with a touchdown at Twickenham.
The prospects of the respective defences coming out on top and neither nation proving capable of conjuring up a try between them is 40/1.
If you fancy England to draw first blood with a penalty it’s 31/20 while an opening drop goal from the Red Rose is 30/1. The last time an Englishman successfully landed a drop against the Aussies however was seven years ago when a chap called Jonny Wilkinson slotted a trademark three-pointer in a 18-9 defeat at Twickenham.
Recent Anglo-Australian clashes have tended to be tales of the second half and four of the last five Tests between the northern and southern hemisphere foes have seen more points scored in the second period than the first 40 minutes. If you think Saturday’s encounter will follow the same pattern, you can get 8/9 on the second half offering up the most points.
It’s 23/25 on the first half being the most prolific while it’s a tempting 23/1 on the two periods producing the same number of points.
What are the best odds this weekend?
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England vs Australia
Jonny May to score a try anytime 7/4
Israel Folau to score a try anytime 5/2
Image credits: Flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))
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