Australia up against it with Pocock out, while Ashton back for England
Australia’s win percentage dips significantly with David Pocock out of the side and this suggests that their European tour will go from bad to worse with a defeat to England.
The tour got off to an horrendous start with a 33-6 defeat to France in Paris and now they head to Twickenham to face an English side that they have lost their last two encounters with.
Australia may be a big price at 15/8 to pick up the win and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is convinced that a dominance in the scrum will hand his team victory.
However, it will be a scrum devoid of openside flanker Pocock, who has broken down with a calf strain just as it seemed that he was ready to make a comeback from knee ligament damage.
The injury is especially problematic for the Wallabies given that their win rate stands at 60 per cent in the 45 matches in which Pocock has appeared.
This is in comparison to the 14 matches he has missed in the same period, where they have mustered a disappointing six victories.
It is at the breakdown where Pocock’s talents are most utilised and this was none more evident than in the 11-9 victory over South Africa in the quarter finals of last year’s Rugby World Cup, bringing about nine turnovers and winning 26 tackles.
Australia’s task will also not be made any easier by the fact that Chris Ashton is expected to return to the England wing.
Ashton scored two tries the last time England faced Australia at Twickenham in 2010 and is a clear improvement on Ugo Monye, who was England’s worst performer in their clinical 54-12 dismantling of Fiji.
England are 2/5 to beat Australia again, while it is 10/11 that Stuart Lancaster’s men can still triumph when conceding a six-point handicap.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.