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Craig Porter 30th Oct 2009 - 16:01

England bring in Tomkins but are still set for a tonking

Live international rugby league from the Four Nations tournament hits the BBC for the first time in a decase as England take on the Australians.

England were flattered last week in the second half as they out-scored the French 30 points to nil. While it wasn't bad rugby the French were clearly suffering from their first half efforts which saw them leading 12-4 at the break.

England coach Tony Smith has argued that his team have had little practice together, maybe everything just clicked at half-time last week. A topsy-turvy result like that this week pays a nice 12/1 (Australia leading half-time and England winning) but it's not really big enough.

England are being given a 16-point start on the main handicap at 10/11. Australia should cover that and can be backed giving up 24 points, which they can cover, at 7/4. It might not be the 52-4 mauling that England suffered in the World Cup last year (a repeat of that winning margin pays 33/1) but, while they could keep up in the forwards, the three-quarters are just too inexperienced to stop an Aussie side still blushing from their performance last week.

A 48-16 Australian victory is a scoreline I'd expect to see in the papers on Sunday - Australia 31-35 points is on offer at 12/1.

Why Smith isn't playing the Super League Champion trio of Danny Maguire, Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield in the all important half-back/loose forward roles is beyond me. Richie Myler is a talent, though he seemed to do his best work as an individual last week.

Wigan's Sam Tomkins has been thrown to the lions for tomorrow and has the alertness to catch the Australian's off-guard early on and is 16/1 to score the first try. He's the same to score the last try (2/1 anytime) which also looks good for a man that will never give up even when the result is a foregone conclusion.


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