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Rupert Wyman 7th Nov 2008 - 19:12

Johnson's reign to begin with a bang

Martin Johnson's England take on the Pacific Islanders on Saturday in what will be Johnno's first match in charge. The match will be the hors d'oeuvres to the bigger fish that await England in the coming weeks.

The World Cup winning captain has named an inexperienced line-up with four debutants including three in the back line. Arguably most importantly though Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani makes a return to the international fold following his serious injury.

Cipriani will be hoping for once in his relative short career that he will be the back page news rather than front.

As well as a new man at the helm off the pitch the start of Johnson's reign sees the appointment of a new full-time captain in lock Steve Borthwick. Borthwick will hope to quickly banish the memory of the disastrous summer tour of New Zealand.

Johnson's England side are overwhelming favourites to beat the Pacific Islanders at odds of 1/16. With a 16 point handicap the two sides are both available at 10/11 with the draw at 16/1.

Wasps winger Paul Sackey is favourite to score the first try at 8/1 and with eight tries in his 15 matches he quite rightly leads the market. However, Newcastle centre Jamie Noon looks a better value bet at 12/1.

William Hill are betting on a range of markets for the first of England's Autumn Tests and are also betting on how many of the four Autumn Tests England will win. After the Pacific Islanders England face Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Two victories is the favourite at 5/4 and that looks about right.

 

 
 
 

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