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Rupert Wyman 11th Jun 2010 - 15:29

England bidding to make history against Australia

England take on Australia in their first ever Test in Perth as Martin Johnson's side seek their first win over the Aussies down under since the 2003 World Cup final victory and just their third win against the Wallabies on Australian soil.

For so long under Martin Johnson, England have shown no signs of developing in to a top class side and this was the case for the vast majority of this year's Six Nations, but Johnno finally had a change of tact in the last game of the tournament against France.

As a result of the inclusions of Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Toby Flood in Paris, England played with more attacking purpose and looked a genuine threat going forward at times.

In a sign of their intentions for the match against Australia, Shontayne Hape has been selected at inside centre and the Bath man will offer even more attacking threat with his pace and strength.

If England can replicate their potential displayed in Paris then they might surprise a few people.

Another integral part of their game will be the scrum as it is arguably the Wallabies' biggest weakness as they have named an inexperienced front row thus giving England's powerful pack a great opportunity to dominate their Australian counterparts.

Dan Cole will be the man England will look to, to make an impression at the set piece. Big things are expected from the prop, although he didn't have the best of games in the Stade de France.

But with Steve Thompson and Tim Payne alongside him they will be expecting to make life difficult for Australia and disrupt their forward play.

If England dominate the scrum and play like they did against France then they are more than capable of winning +10 points on the handicap at 10/11.

However, I wouldn't be as bold to predict an outright England win at 3/1. As despite everything I have already said one cannot underestimate this Australian line-up.

They may be without the influential Matt Giteau but in Digby Ioane, Drew Mitchell and Quade Cooper among others they are full of talent.

The Wallabies recently thrashed Fiji 49-3 and while Fiji may not be as good as England the Aussies play at sometimes was breathtaking, although in the early stages of the game the backline struggled to gel and if this is the case against England they could be punished early doors.

The match looks terribly difficult to call though as both sides are in transition and the players are not that familiar with one another so it could come down to who settles down the quickest.

An Australian victory by 1-5 points looks a decent bet at 13/2 and that is my prediction, but in reality the match could go either way and it would certainly be no great surprise to see Australia rack up a big score, but the hope is that England carry on where they left off against France and show further signs of development ahead of next year's World Cup.



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