Match Preview: England v Australia

England V Australia
Saturday 31st October 2009, 2:30pm at the DW Stadium

Match build up

Admit it, this is the one you’ve really been waiting for. International games are frequently referred to as test matches and their truly is no greater test than playing against our friends from down under.

Last weekends opening fixtures certainly wet the appetite for this one. England, by their own admission made a slow nervous start against France but shone once they got going. Meanwhile the Kangaroos fought out one of the most intense games seen for many years.

Everyone knows the Aussie back line reeks of class, names such as Inglis, Lockyer, Slater not forgetting Thurston could easily walk into any RL side over the past 100 years. They have an abundance of skill and pace which could prove decisive. The Lions must ensure the defensive work is impeccable. One missed tackle against these lot and it’s curtains!

England have won three and lost three playing in Wigan over the past ten years. All three defeats coming at the hands of the Kangaroos, England did however take the spoils in 2004 when a full house saw them record a 24-12 win.

Hooker James Roby believes that England stand every chance of getting a result, “There are a lot of people that speak about Australian and New Zealand rugby been better than our rugby and an aura that exists around the Aussies and the NRL.

"It was a fantastic game (last week) but I do think there is little bit of an aura about the NRL that I don’t really see. What have they got that we haven’t? It’s 17 players who are human and at the end of the day we can match them."

While Aussie full back Billy Slater reckons it will be a hard game, "England are going to improve a lot as well. Everyone was blowing the cobwebs out with the first round and we were pretty lucky to get away with a draw in the end. The ball’s in our hands now and we’ve got a chance to put a stamp on this competition and the Poms at Wigan are going to be tough. It’s their home ground and I think it will be a full house and a good atmosphere."

Stat Attack

These two have met 150 times, 136 of those with England playing as Great Britain. Against GB the Aussies hold an 11 game advantage, winning 71 compared to 60 with five games drawn. Playing as England we have competed against the Aussies 14 times and won half of these, Australia have won just five and two games ended level.

Darren Lockyer will captain Australia for a record-equalling 27th time on Saturday. He first led Australia when they lost 30-16 to New Zealand at Auckland on 18 October 2003, having made Test his debut in 1998. The record is held by Clive Churchill, who captained Australia 27 times from 1950 to 1955.

Lockyer also needs two tries in this tournament to become Australia's highest ever try scorer. If Australia make the final and Lockyer plays every game he will become the first man ever to play 50 games for the green & golds.

Form guide

England – WWWLL
W 34-12 V France, Doncaster, 23 October 09 – Four Nations 09 Game 1
W 48-12 V Wales, Bridgend, 17 October 09 – International Match
W 66-12 V France, Paris, 13 June 09 – International Match
L 32-22 V New Zealand, Brisbane, 15 November 08 – RLWC Semi Final
L 36-24 V New Zealand, Newcastle (Aus), 8 November 08 – RLWC Group Game

Australia – DWLWW
D 20-20 V New Zealand, London, 24 October 09 – Four Nations 09 Game 2
W 38-10 V New Zealand, Brisbane, 8 May 09 – Anzac Test
L 34-20 V New Zealand, Brisbane, 22 November 08 – RLWC Final
W 52-0 V Fiji, Sydney, 16 November 08 – RLWC Semi Final
W 46-6 V PNG, Townsville, 9 November 08 – RLWC Group Game

Last five meetings

Australia 52-4 England, Melbourne, 2 November 08 – RLWC Group Game
Australia 33-10 England, Brisbane, 18 November 06* – Tri Nations
England 23-12 Australia, Sydney, 4 November 06* – Tri Nations
Australia 26-14 England, Hull, 19 November 05* – Tri Nations
Australia 20-6 England, Wigan, 6 November 05* – Tri Nations
*played as Great Britain

Total Meetings

  • Played - 150
  • England - 67
  • Australia - 76
  • Drawn - 7
Tournament record
  • Played - 8
  • England - 2
  • Australia - 6
  • Drawn - 0
Previous games in Wigan

2007 England* 28-22 New Zealand
2005 Australia 20-6 England*
2004 England* 24-12 Australia
2003 Australia 22-18 England*
2002 England* 16-10 New Zealand
2001 Australia 28-8 England*
*played as Great Britain (Previous games in Wigan involving one or both of these sides since Tri Nations began. All 6 at the DW Stadium, formerly known as the JJB Stadium)

Key battles

Sam Burgess V Trent Waterhouse
The battle of the second rowers will be key for England if they are going to compete with the green and golds. Aussie eyes will be on Burgess as he prepares for his switch to South Sydney Rabbitohs for the 2010 NRL competition. He will be keen to impress and the opposition will be just as keen to give him an early ‘welcome’ to the Australian game. One of the men he has to stop Trent Waterhouse is returning from a four year absence for the national side. The Penrith Panther is one heck of a player, his barnstorming runs and ridiculous offloads will trouble any defence.

Michael Shenton V Greg Inglis
Shenton has played for his hometown club Castleford since 2004 and developed into a real talent. Having made his debut against Wigan at the age of 17 he was tipped for big things and is now ready to deliver. His opposite number Greg Inglis showed against the Kiwis just how dangerous he really is, the towering Melbourne Storm and Queensland regular one of the best centres in the world and could go on to be an all time great. Scary when you realise he is only 22.

James Graham V Petero Civoniceva
The forwards battle will be immense and these two will have a lot to say throughout the course of the 80 minutes. Although he plays for them lot over the other side of Billinge Hill you have to admit he is a great player! Winner of the Man of Steel award last year he is still only 24 and will be desperate to take his good club form into the international arena. Civoniceva is the second most experienced tourist behind captain Darren Lockyer. Having represented the Aussies 37 times he knows all the tricks of the trade. At 33 he is still without doubt a phenomenal athlete and one of the best modern day props in the game.

Referee

English man Steve Ganson will be the man attempting to keep control of this one! This after the ARL claimed neutral refs New Zealander Leon Williamson and Frenchman Thierry Alibert were not full time officials. Ganson refereed the Australia and New Zealand showdown last week with the Aussies seemingly not impressed with his performance. On learning of Ganson’s appointment Kangaroo coach Tim Sheens said “Hopefully we'll understand him a little better next week.”

Key info

This game will be played at the DW Stadium, Wigan. For more information [click here].

Ticket info

Tickets are available from www.superleague.co.uk/tickets over the phone on 0844 856 1113 or from the DW Stadium. Tickets are in five categories, £20, £25, £30, £40 & £50. Concessions are half price.

Any tickets purchased after Tuesday lunch time will not be posted out and will instead be available for collection at the stadium on the day of the game.

Special offers:

  • Family Ticket: 2 Adults & 2 Juniors for £40 in the £20/£10 sections
  • Group Stage Offer, 10 for 9: Buy 10 tickets for any single or combination of UK based group games and get the lowest priced ticket free.
  • The Final Offer*: For every ticket purchased for a UK based group stage games receive a £10 (or £5 concession) discount on a Final ticket

TV Coverage

  • LIVE – Saturday 31 Oct, 2:10pm, BBC One
  • Replay – Sunday 1 Nov, 10:30am - Sky Sports Xtra
  • Highlights – Sunday 1 Nov Four Nations Tournament Highlights, 10:45pm - BBC Two

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