Rugby U


Afternoon all. England face their first major test of the Autumn internationals this afternoon, against an in form Australia side.

Australia have won their last four matches in a row, including victories over Wales last week and world champions New Zealand. They're averaging just over four and a half tries per game in 2017, so will take some stopping by England's defence.

England of course have been a superb team themselves since the disappointment of the world cup, and have won 21 of their last 22 games, including four consecutive wins over today's opponents. Their sluggish performance last weekend against Argentina may pose some cause for concern, but this is a team in the habit of winning.

England have made three changes to their starting lineup from the team that beat Argentina, with Owen Farrell, Jonny May and Joe Launchbury all returning to the team. Anthony Watson makes his first start for England at full back. Australia have been forced to make a late change to their team by a thumb injury to second row Adam Coleman. Full teams follow.

England: 15-Anthony Watson; 14-Jonny May, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-Elliot Daly; 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs; 1-Mako Vunipola, 2-Dylan Hartley, 3-Dan Cole, 4-Joe Launchbury, 5-Courtney Lawes, 6-Chris Robshaw, 7-Sam Underhill, 8-Nathan Hughes 16-Jamie George, 17-Joe Marler, 18-Harry Williams, 19-Maro Itoje, 20-Sam Simmonds, 21-Danny Care, 22-Henry Slade, 23-Semesa Rokoduguni

15-Kurtley Beale; 14-Marika Koroibete, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Reece Hodge; 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Will Genia; 1-Scott Sio, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3-Sekope Kepu, 4-Rob Simmons, 5-Blake Enever, 6-Ned Hanigan, 7-Michael Hooper, 8-Sean McMahon 16-Stephen Moore, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Matt Philip, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Lopeti Timani, 22-Nick Phipps, 23-Karmichael Hunt

The teams are arriving on the pitch, and we'll be underway after the anthems. Today's referee is New Zealander Ben O'Keefe, who at 28 is very young to be taking charge of such a high-profile international. He must be good.

Who're you picking to win this one? I really can't make up my mind. Think you can make a good case for either team. Foley kicks off, and the match is underway.

1' A bit of kicking back and forth to warm up, which ends when Foley finds touch. England have a lineout on halfway.

3' England win the ball and try a cross field kick, which very nearly pays off, but they knock on trying to collect the ball. Scrum to Australia.