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RLWC Preview: Australia vs. England

Dan Talintyre

AUS v ENG

Australia will open up its World Cup title defence when they take on England in the opening game of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup this Friday in Melbourne.

Heading in to the tournament as heavy favourites to secure an 11th title, Mal Meninga’s men will be keen to start against Pool A opponents England with a positive performance — knowing they may well meet Wayne Bennett’s side later on in the knockout rounds.

The green and gold looked ominous in their two warmup games against Fiji and Papua New Guinea last fortnight, while England too look good as they put the finishing touches on their preparations with a big 74-12 win over the Combined Affiliates States.

Knocked out in the semi-finals by New Zealand in each of the last three World Cups, England will know that a strong performance against the Kangaroos in the opening round will set the tone for their tournament and, with the Kiwis missing several of their big-name stars, could go a long way to helping them make their first final since 1995.

AAMI Park will host its first international match since these two sides did battle in the 2014 Four Nations, where Australia emerged with a gutsy 16-12 win over England.
 

Group A: Australia vs. England

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Friday, October 27, 2017

Time — 8:00pm AEDT

Venue — AAMI Park, Melbourne

 

LIVE STREAM AND TV INFORMATION

Live Stream — Channel 7’s https://7live.com.au/ (Australia only)

TV — Click here for a full country-by-country list of TV broadcasts.

 

TEAM NEWS

Australia — 1. Billy Slater 2. Dane Gagai 3. Will Chambers 4. Josh Dugan 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Michael Morgan 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Aaron Woods 9. Cameron Smith 10. David Klemmer 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Matt Gillett 13. Jake Trbojevic (Interchange: 14. Wade Graham 15. Jordan McLean 16. Josh McGuire 17. Tyson Frizell) — Coach: Mal Meninga

Reserves: 18. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 19. Ben Hunt 20. Tom Trbojevic 21. Felise Kaufusi

England — 1. Jonny Lomax 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Sean O’Laughlin (Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Chris Heighington 16. Thomas Burgess 17. James Roby) — Coach: Wayne Bennett

Reserves: 18. Ben Currie 19. Kevin Brown 20. Mark Percival 21. Scott Taylor

 

RLWC STANDINGS — POOL A

 

Played

Won

Lost

F/A

Points

Australia

-

-

-

-

-

England

-

-

-

-

-

France

-

-

-

-

-

Lebanon

-

-

-

-

-

 

HISTORY

Australia has faced off against England 14 times (and 137 times against Great Britain), with the Kangaroos winning 11 of those matches. After going winless in their opening three games against England from 1975 to 1995 (two losses and a draw), Australia has put together a formidable winning streak — currently with 11 victories in a row to their name. The Kangaroos are also undefeated in their two matches against England at AAMI Park — recording victories in both the 2014 and 2010 Four Nations competitions.

 

PLAYER TO FOLLOW — Cooper Cronk, Australia

With his playing future the subject of much debate at the moment, fans will be keen to see how the Melbourne Storm superstar delivers in what could be his final competition in his distinguished rugby league career. Heading in to the tournament without regular halves partner Jonathan Thurston, Cronk will likely adopt even more of a dominant role in the Kangaroos’ attack — not that he was certainly lacking in any role before that! In his international career, Cronk has won an impressive 87.88% of his matches and comes in to this week’s contest having never lost against England from his six attempts. 

 

PREDICTION

Australia's new combinations might take some time to click, but there's no denying the talent within this squad, and the number of players in form. Kangaroos by 12.
 

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