England v Australia (Sat)

England coach Stuart Lancaster leads training

AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS: ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA

Venue:
Twickenham
Date:
Saturday, 2 November
Kick-off:
14:30 GMT
Coverage:
Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live & online; watch highlights on Saturday (BBC Three, 20:00-21:00 GMT) or Sunday (BBC Two, 13:20-14:20); text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; watch again on iPlayer

MATCH PREVIEW

Old foes England and Australia lock horns to compete for the Cook Cup in the first of the autumn internationals, with both sides having much to prove after a challenging 2013 so far.

England coach Stuart Lancaster has his Lions players back in the fold - after their second string trounced Argentina in their absence over the summer - for the first since time since their galling humiliation against Wales in March.

With a World Cup on home soil now less than two years away, Stuart Lancaster knows that serious questions marks will be asked of his tenure if they fail to win at least two of their three matches this fall.

Australia pose a fascinating challenge. They have endured a tumultuous year that has seen their players manage just three wins out of 10 on the pitch, but be the subject of hundreds of column inches off it.

Unpopular coach Robbie Deans lost his job, as much for the agonising series defeat by the Lions, as for the way he allowed certain members of his squad to openly flout his authority. New coach Ewen McKenzie came in prior to the start of the Rugby Championship and has tried his upmost to reinstall discipline to a squad that had spiralled out of control.

Mercurial back James O'Connor was the first to be jettisoned for a series of misdemeanours and this week signed for London Irish in a bid to move away from the glare of the Australia media and get his career, and life, back on track.

Mauled by the Lions in the decisive third Test, the Aussies barely laid a glove on South Africa and New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, and shipped a total of 115 points in three matches against the All Blacks this year.

However, in the last match of the tournament they scored a record 33 points in defeat in Dunedin to add to the 54 they scored the previous week against Argentina, indicating that the roots of recovery are starting to poke through. Quade Cooper, a man who was often at the epicentre of the Wallabies soap opera, made headlines for the right reasons in those matches and has been elevated to vice-captain.

His half-back partnership with Will Genia flourished under McKenzie at the Queensland Reds, when they won the 2011 Super Rugby title, and are key to this new-look, well-behaved, Wallabies squad.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Australia have only lost two of their last six visits to Twickenham and won 20-14 there last year.
  • In 41 matches since their first clash in 1909, England have won 16 times, Australia 24, with one draw.

England

  • England have won their last four at home, but have not won five on the trot since their run of 22 consecutive victories between October 1999 and September 2003 - before they went on to win the World Cup.
  • Only two England players started the final Test match of the Lions tour of Australia and both will miss this match through injury, Alex Corbisiero and Geoff Parling. Five more came off the bench.

Australia

  • Australia have won just three Tests in 2013, one against the Lions and two against Argentina.
  • Five wins from their five Tests on this tour would give the Wallabies their first 'grand slam' in nearly three decades since they achieved it for the first and only time in 1984 by beating England 19-3, Ireland 16-9, Wales 28-9 and Scotland 37-12.
  • If Australia win this match it will be their 100th Test victory away from home (P245, W99, L140, D6). They are also four points away from scoring 4,000 points outside of Australia.

TEAM LINE-UPS

England: 15-Mike Brown, 14-Chris Ashton, 13-Joel Tomkins, 12-Billy Twelvetrees, 11-Marlon Yarde, 10-Owen Farrell, 9-Lee Dickson; 1 -Maku Vunipola, 2-Tom Youngs, 3-Dan Cole, 4-Joe Launchbury, 5-Courtney Lawes, 6-Tom Wood, 7-Chris Robshaw (captain), 8-Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16-Dylan Hartley, 17-Joe Marler, 18-Dave Wilson, 19-Dave Attwood, 20-Ben Morgan, 21-Ben Youngs, 22-Toby Flood, 23-Ben Foden

Australia : 15-Israel Folau, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 12-Matt Toomua, 11-Nick Cummins, 10-Quade Cooper, 9-Will Genia, 8-Ben Mowen, 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Scott Fardy, 5-James Horwill, 4-Sitaleki Timani, 3-Ben Alexander, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-James Slipper

Replacements: 16-Saia Fainga'a, 17-Benn Robinson, 18-Sekope Kepu, 19-Kane Douglas, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Nic White, 22-Christian Leali'ifano, 23-Bernard Foley.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: George Clancey (Ireland)

Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France) & Dudley Phillips (Ireland)

TV: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

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