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England take on Australia in the crunch match of their Autumn Internationals. But what’s the history of the two teams? And who’s likely to win this time round?
These sides have met 48 times in the past with Australia leading the head to head 25 to 22, with only a 1997 match at Twickenham ending in a 15-15 draw. However, the English are catching up fast, winning the last 4 encounters between the two and our model suggests this trend will continue, with England predicted to win 31-20.
Their first ever meeting came on Blackheath, London in 1909 with Australia winning 9-3. A fairly tit-for-tat head to head took place for 70 years before Australia began to take control of the fixture in the 80s and 90s, winning 10 out of the 13 matches played, with only two losses and 1 draw. Happily for the English, since then things have improved. From 2000 they have won 15 of the 24 matches and are currently on a 4 match winning streak against the men in gold – including 3 away wins down under in 2016.
Since being dumped rather unceremoniously out of their own World Cup (by Australia no less) England have had their fortunes around by new coach Eddie Jones. Now with 22 victories from 23 – pedants, there’s a Babarians’s game in there too – England are the favourites in any match bar one that includes New Zealand. However, their performance last weekend against Argentina has been widely acknowledged as well below par. Indeed, Eddie Jones himself provided the most entertainment of the match when he did a ‘Martin Johnson’ and lost his cool after an England penalty.
England will need to up their game to compete with the Wallabies who are now on an 8 match unbeaten streak, including a win over World Champions New Zealand in Bledisloe 3. Australia however, are not without their blips – a loss at home to Scotland back in June shows their vulnerability when put under pressure, and although they beat Wales last weekend in Cardiff, arguably it was decided by an extremely lucky breakaway try by Kurtley Beale.
All in all, this is sure to be an exciting game. Both teams have plenty of history and a real desire to get one over the other. We will stick with the England win that is predicted by the model, but say that it will be a little closer than the 11 point win forecasted.