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International Rugby: Australia v England 1st Test preview

The Wallabies will be making their first appearance of 2022 and it does not get much bigger than a Test series against England with the first match taking place in Perth on Saturday.

In general 2021 was a campaign to forget for the Wallabies as they suffered seven defeats throughout a year that ended particularly badly.

The spring tour to the UK could not have gone much worse following defeats against England, Wales and Scotland.

However a new year brings new hope and coach Dave Rennie will be hoping to see some big improvements. Preparations for the 2023 World Cup in France will start to ramp up and the series against England will be a good indicator to how much work needs to be done.

All has not been going swimmingly for England either though. Eddie Jones’ side where left empty handed following the Six Nations and suffered a 52-21 defeat against the Barbarians last week.

Without doubt England have dominated Australia for some time now. Indeed England have won the last eight meetings between the two nations. The last time the Wallabies beat England was way back in 2015.

The last time England toured Australia was back in 2016 and they won the series 3-0. The Wallabies will be out to make sure there is no repeat of that scoreline.

There is plenty on the line for both sides and the three-match Test series has all the ingredients to be a cracker, starting in Perth on Saturday before heading to Brisbane and Sydney.

England can also expect to feel a little at home with the expats set to be out in numbers over the three matches.

What: Australia v England
Where: Optus Stadium, Perth
When: 19:55 (AEST) Saturday 2nd July, 2022
Odds: Australia 8/15, England 6/4

Team news

Taniela Tupou and Kurtley Beale are the two big injuries for the Wallabies but apart from that Rennie has pretty much a clean bill of health. He will just face one or two selection dilemmas over the side that takes to the field at Optus Stadium.

The Aussie coach made a couple of big calls when picking his 35-man squad for the series. The omission of Fraser McReight and Reece Hodge in particular raised a few eyebrows.

The squad includes six uncapped players. They are NSW Waratahs pair Jed Holloway and David Porecki, Brumbies locks Nick Frost and Cadeyrn Neville, Rebels prop Pone Fa'amausili and Reds flyer Suliasi Vunivalu.

Michael Hooper will again captain the side, with James Slipper, who has 114 Tests to his name, also in there to add plenty of experience.

Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi, who are all based in Japan, are the three oversees selections.
Speaking after the squad was announced, Rennie was excited by the group he has put together.

"The past two years have allowed us to build strong foundations as a group but there's no doubt that we have a lot more in us,” he said.

Rennie will face some tough decisions when it comes to naming the 23 that will be up against England in the first Test in Perth.

His toughest decision will come at halfback with Nic White, Tate McDermott, Jake Gordon all in the mix. Tom Banks is set to play at fullback.

Predicted line-up: James Slipper, Dave Porecki, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Michael Hooper (c), Rob Valetini, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks.

England have been hit by a number of big injuries ahead of the tour down under to give Jones something of a headache.

Alex Dombrandt has been ruled out of the tour after the No.8 picked up a knee injury in training before the clash against the Barbarians. Saracens star Billy Vunipola has been named as his replacement.

George Ford will also be missing for England after rolling his ankle. He joins an absentee list that also includes Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Kyle Sinckler, Anthony Watson, Louis Lynagh and George Furbank.

Despite missing so many players Jones believes he still has a strong squad that is more than capable of winning the opening Test and the series.

“This squad is a real mix of young, talented players and some very experienced, senior players and we’re looking forward to bring the group together,” he said.

Predicted line-up: Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Joe Marchant, Joe Cokanasiga, Freddie Steward.

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