Favourites Eng­land to power past Wal­la­bies

Ed­die Jones’ team to over­turn eight-point gap on hand­i­cap looks at­trac­tive propo­si­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport -

There is no bet­ter way to start the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Rugby World Cup than with Eng­land tak­ing on Aus­tralia in Oita. It is no sur­prise that Eng­land are strong 1-3 favourites and, given the way the teams have ne­go­ti­ated their way to the knock­out stages, there must be supreme con­fi­dence that Eng­land can progress.

They have won their past six matches against Aus­tralia, who strug­gled in the pool stages and whose head coach, Michael Cheika, was seem­ingly un­sure of his best team. Cheika’s tac­ti­cal tin­ker­ing rarely goes on dur­ing a World Cup and Aus­tralia are tak­ing on a vir­tu­ally full-strength Eng­land squad, who have had two weeks to pre­pare af­ter their fi­nal pool match was can­celled when Typhoon Hag­ibis struck Ja­pan.

Eng­land’s pow­er­ful run­ners should have the edge and Eng­land could even be value at 10/11 to over­come an eight-point deficit on the hand­i­cap. In the other quar­ter­fi­nals, Ire­land are an at­trac­tive price at 4/1 to over­come favourites New Zealand. Few na­tions will strike more fear into the All Blacks than the Ir­ish, who are one of just two teams to have de­feated them in the past 12 months. It is worth for­giv­ing Ire­land’s loss to Ja­pan as they were with­out 2018 World Rugby player of the year Johnny Sex­ton. Ire­land never look the Liver­pool to be win­ning at half- time and full-time Eng­land -8 to beat Aus­tralia Ire­land to beat New Zealand South Africa -15 to beat Ja­pan Traf­ford as Liver­pool’s odds at kick-off are go­ing to be the short­est on them to win away against Manch­ester United in the Premier League era.

Jur­gen Klopp’s side are odds-on for the first time and their price of 7/10 to come away with a vic­tory is hard to ar­gue against given the re­spec­tive di­rec­tions the teams seem to be head­ing in this sea­son.

United look to be fac­ing an up­hill bat­tle to fin­ish in the top half of the Premier League and head coach Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer is priced at just 1/6 to leave his po­si­tion be­fore the end of the sea­son (Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is 9/4 favourite to be the next United man­ager). With David de Gea the lat­est United player to be ruled out of the game this week­end af­ter suf­fer­ing an in­jury while on in­ter­na­tional duty with Spain and Paul Pogba also set to miss out on to­mor­row’s big match, it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine a sce­nario in which United will pre­vail given their lack of ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tin­ued poor form.

Liver­pool have won their past 17 Premier League games and are 8/13 to lift their first ti­tle in more than 30 years. Their march to glory looks sure to con­tinue at Old Traf­ford. For any­body think­ing that 7/10 is too short to take, the 7/4 about Liver­pool win­ning at half-time and full-time should be con­sid­ered.

Great record: Manu Tuilagi bursts for­ward dur­ing Eng­land’s win against Aus­tralia at Twick­en­ham last year – one of six suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries over the Wal­la­bies

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