Fourteen-man Australia end losing run against England in remarkable contest

By Sports Desk July 02, 2022

Australia snapped an eight-match losing run against England in thrilling fashion with a 30-28 victory at Optus Stadium in Perth, despite playing more than half of Saturday's contest with 14 men.

The hosts lost fly-half Quade Cooper to injury just before kick-off and were given an even bigger headache when Darcy Swain was dismissed six minutes before half-time for headbutting Jonny Hill.

Eddie Jones' men were leading 6-0 at that point thanks to a couple of Owen Farrell penalties and looked good value to extend their winning streak in this fixture, only for Noah Lolesio to level from the boot before the interval, by which point Australia had lost three more to injury.

England finally managed to shake off their opponents when some great execution and patience from a maul allowed Ellis Genge to cross over for the first try of the three-Test series, but Australia again refused to give up and edged in front through a Jordan Petaia try 15 minutes later.

That led to a remarkable England collapse, with Folau Fainga'a claiming the ball from a line-out and sneaking through just two minutes after being introduced, before Pete Samu added a third try following another fine team drive.

Lolesio converted all three of those tries but was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on, meaning Australia were down to 13 men late on, at which point debutant Henry Arundell raced through with his first involvement after being brought on.

Another England debutant in Jack van Poortvliet finished shortly after, with Farrell again adding the extras, but England did not have a chance to resume play in a defeat that will lead to more questions being asked of Jones.

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    Even a victory may not be enough for Ian Foster to keep his job when New Zealand lock horns with South Africa once again at Ellis Park on Saturday.

    Foster was under massive pressure before the Rugby Championship started and a 26-10 defeat at the hands of the Springboks last weekend ensured the writing would appear to be on the wall for the All Blacks head coach.

    That loss in Mbombela pushed New Zealand down to their worst ever world ranking of fifth, and they face another almighty battle against the world champions in Johannesburg.

    Australia fought back to start the tournament with a 41-26 victory over Argentina, so the Pumas will be hungry for revenge at Estadio Bicentenario in round two.

    Stats Perform preview the matches using Opta data.

     

    SOUTH AFRICA V NEW ZEALAND

    FORM

    It is now five losses in six Tests for the wounded All Blacks and three defeats in a row. Only once in the past 70 years have they lost more than three games in a row - suffering five consecutive defeats from July to August in 1998.

    South Africa have won six of their past seven home games in the Rugby Championship, including four on the bounce. It is the third time they have won four on the spin at home in the competition and they have never managed five straight wins in such fixtures.

    The Springboks have won their past two meetings with New Zealand. The last time they won more in succession against the All Blacks was a three-game streak from July to September in 2009.

    ONES TO WATCH

    The vastly experienced Duane Vermeulen returns at number eight for South Africa after recovering from a knee injury. He replaces Jasper Wiese and will need to hit the ground running.

    A standout selection for New Zealand was the inclusion of Richie Mo'unga at fly-half, with Beauden Barrett dropping to the bench a week after he was involved in a nasty collision with Kurt-Lee Arendse. Foster will look to Mo'unga to provide control and set the tempo, provided he gets the ball to enable him to pull the strings.

    ARGENTINA V AUSTRALIA

    FORM

    Australia have lost only one of their past 14 Tests against Argentina, winning 11 and drawing two. The Wallabies have won their last three versus the Pumas; 10 of the wins being decided by margins of at least 10 points.

    Argentina are winless in 10 Rugby Championship/Tri Nations game, losing eight and drawing two. They have lost their last seven in the competition and squandered a 19-10 half-time lead last weekend.

    It is now five Rugby Championship/Tri Nations victories in a row for Dave Rennie's Australia side, their longest winning run in the competition.

    ONES TO WATCH

    Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has turned to Gonzalo Bertranou to start at scrum-half. The pivot must get Argentina ticking and put the Wallabies on the back foot.

    Another cruel injury blow for Quade Cooper has opened the door for James O'Connor to start at fly-half for Australia. The number 10 will know he has a great opportunity to put on a show just over a year before the World Cup starts.

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  • Qatar 2022 – 100 days to go: France or Brazil? Plus Messi and Ronaldo's chances – Stats Perform AI predicts the finals Qatar 2022 – 100 days to go: France or Brazil? Plus Messi and Ronaldo's chances – Stats Perform AI predicts the finals

    Fans' wait for the World Cup has, of course, been a little longer than normal this time around – ordinarily the tournament would've already been completed.

    Nevertheless, the big kick-off is closing in with Qatar 2022 now just 100 days away – we're into the final straight!

    As with any major tournament, predicting a winner in the build-up is just a natural part of being a football fan, even if it can often be a fool's errand.

    But considering how integral statistics are to football these days, using data might just give you the edge, and that's where Stats Perform come in.

    Our Artificial Intelligence team have used Opta's extensive data reserves to quantify each team's chances of winning the entire tournament.

    Every match has been run through the Stats Perform World Cup prediction model to calculate the estimated probability of the outcome (win, draw or loss). This uses odds from betting markets and Stats Perform team rankings, which are based on historical and recent performances.

    It takes into consideration the strength of each team's opponents as well as the difficulty of their respective paths to the final, plus the make-up of the groups and any relevant seedings heading into the knockouts.

    Then, the rest of the tournament is simulated 40,000 times and analysed, providing the AI team with a percentage for each nation, showing the probability of them ultimately lifting the trophy at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.

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    FAVOURITES: France (17.9 per cent)

    Suspend your disbelief! Yes, reigning champions France have the greatest probability of winning the World Cup this year, with our model giving them an almost 18-per cent chance of clinching a third title.

    But let's not overlook how remarkable an achievement that would be. No team has retained the World Cup since Brazil in 1962, and the only other occasion of that happening was in the 1930s when Italy won it back-to-back.

    France were the favourites heading into Euro 2020 but were ultimately disappointing – they'll need to do significantly better here otherwise their fate could be sealed by the dreaded winners' curse.

    Each of the past four European winners of the World Cup have been eliminated in the group stages, a trend that began with Les Bleus in 2002.

     

    2. Brazil (15.7 per cent)

    Another unsurprising entry. That's right, record winners Brazil come in at second in terms of likelihood of winning the World Cup.

    Tite's side qualified with ease and clearly have an extremely talented group of players available to them – the problem is getting them all on the pitch at one time while retaining a cohesive and balanced shape.

    If Tite can find the magic formula at the World Cup this time, at the very least you'd expect them to get beyond the quarter-finals, the stage they crashed out to Belgium four years ago in Kazan.

    Failure, however, will mean Brazil's World Cup drought will stretch to 24 years by the time the 2026 edition comes around, and that would make it their joint-longest barren run in the competition since claiming their first title in 1958.

    3. Spain (11.5 per cent)

    La Roja aren't the force they were as recently as 10 years ago, when they won a third successive major international tournament with victory at Euro 2012.

    However, Luis Enrique has turned them into a side that is easy on the eye and capable of carving open the best teams – their main issue in recent years has been finding a reliable striker, and that'll likely be what determines how far they get in Qatar.

    Either way, we can surely expect a better showing than they managed in Russia, where they were hindered by the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup as a result of accepting a post-tournament role at Real Madrid.

    4. England (8.0 per cent)

    The Three Lions almost won their first major international trophy since 1966 last year at Euro 2020, only to fall at the final hurdle against Italy.

    Either way, few can deny it was a sign of progress: they reached the Russia 2018 semi-finals, the final at Euro 2020, so surely Qatar 2022 is theirs already?

    Gareth Southgate has made England an effective tournament side, even if doubts remain over his ability to impose a style of play that sees the Three Lions take the initiative against the biggest teams.

    Similarly, their performances in the first round of Nations League fixtures in June left a lot to be desired, but that won't stop expectations from soaring in Qatar.

    5. Belgium (7.9 per cent)

    Squeezing into the top five ahead of the Netherlands (7.7 per cent) are Belgium, who reached the semi-finals four years ago before being eliminated by eventual winners France.

    It's fair to say this is likely to be the last opportunity for the Red Devils' so-called 'golden generation' to truly leave its mark on a major tournament – in fact, many original members of that Belgium generation have already retired.

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    THE REST OF THE FIELD

    Netherlands and Germany (7.2) are hard on Belgium's heels in our predictor table, though in both cases fans might feel their squads have more to offer than their neighbours.

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    They are the only other two to be given more than a 2.3 per cent chance of World Cup success, and given the presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, they cannot be discounted.

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    10. Croatia (2.3 per cent)
    11. Denmark (2.0 per cent)
    12. Uruguay (1.5 per cent)
    13. Mexico (1.4 per cent)
    14. Switzerland (1.0 per cent)
    15. Poland (0.8 per cent)
    16. Iran (0.6 per cent)
    17. Japan (0.5 per cent)
    18. United States (0.5 per cent)
    19. Wales (0.4 per cent)
    20. Qatar (0.4 per cent)
    21. South Korea (0.4 per cent)
    22. Serbia (0.2 per cent)
    23. Senegal (0.2 per cent)
    24. Ecuador (0.2 per cent)
    25. Australia (0.1 per cent)
    26. Ghana (

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