Rugby Union Autumn Season
After what seems to have been a very long break, the Rugby Union Autumn Season is about to get underway. The first match will take place on 6th November when England play New Zealand at Twickenham.
Three of England’s top players are involved with French teams and there was some concern in the England camps that the teams would refuse to release them in order to prepare for the match, however, the French have now agreed and Jonny Wilkinson, who plays for Toulon, along with Tom Palmer and James Haskell who play for Stade Francais will join the rest of the England squad.
Martin Johnson is starting the season with a considerable amount of optimism. He said that the England challenge is to carry forward the momentum following the win over Australia in Sydney. If England is to avoid trouble against the All Blacks then it is important that their preparation is not compromised as it would have been if the French had played hard ball over releasing their English players.
It is speculated the Lewis Moody will captain the England team assuming that he passes a fitness test.
Johnson added that he believed the side was in top form and very fit and that the necessary balance of experience at last has been created. The results will tell if he is correct. No longer on probation, it will be essential for Johnson to produce some good performances, though it is difficult to see who could replace him before the Rugby World Cup.
In this year’s Six Nations the favourite is France at 9/4 with 888sport followed by Ireland at 3/1. England is the third favourite at 10/3.