Rugby World Cup Pool A: England replace Ford with Farrell for Wales test
Seven out of the last 10 tests between England and Wales have been decided by a margin of 10 points or less, with home wins at Twickenham in three of the last four matches held there.
Coral thus make Stuart Lancaster’s side odds-on 2/7 favourites to win this second Pool A outing of the Rugby World Cup, better at 7/4 to record that in the 1-10 bracket, and worth a punt even nearer the knuckle at 5/1 for between one and five points.
The England coach has sparked debate this week by making a change at fly half, with Owen Farrell in place of George Ford. Having a good kicker, as Wales are missing their best with the boot in injured Leigh Halfpenny, could be a motivating factor behind Lancaster’s decision. Dan Biggar is called upon by Warren Gatland for the visitors, who are 3/1 outsiders for victory.
Mike Brown takes over the number 15 shirt for England, and he is the man to get them going forward on the counter-attack with anytime tryscorer odds of 11/5. Wales will have identified Brown as a danger after his two tries against Fiji (14/1 for a repeat or better here), so must taken him down quickly before he gets into open space.
Rugby league convert Sam Burgess, 9/2 in the same market, will also start for the hosts, earning his third cap alongside South African-born Brad Barritt. Gatland will want his side to take full advantage of Burgess’ inexperience in midfield.
With Ben Morgan injured, Billy Vunipola has been chosen to step in at number eight, a cousin of fellow Wales forward Taulupe Faletou and he starts against his kinsman.
Gatland has Hallam Amos, a tasty 2/1 for another try anytime, on the wing again after crossing against Uruguay, with Alex Cuthbert on the bench, after making a good impression in previous matches.
Mike Phillips misses out for Wales, though, despite his late call-up to their Rugby World Cup roster, as Gareth Davies did superbly at scrum half in their opener. Many thought Liam Williams’ tournament was over after limping off in that game, but he is once again given the nod by Gatland at full back.
Alun Wyn Jones starting alongside Bradley Davis makes for a strong second row to take on England in the scrum, but this battle between Six Nations rivals and neighbours looks set to be keenly fought and just as close as ever.
Coral’s top tip: With Wales understrength, it’s England we’re tipping to win by a narrow margin of 1-5 points at 5/1.