Our event of the day is the Autumn International match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham. England come into their second game of the 2018 Autumn Internationals following a close win over South Africa last weekend. However, they face a very different, and even tougher, challenge in the vaunted New Zealand All Blacks. The All Blacks silenced an upstart Japanese side 69-31 last weekend and look to do the same against a relatively inexperienced English side. With both teams looking to show good form before next year’s World Cup, expect an exhilarating afternoon of rugby in West London. Some have described England’s 12-11 victory over South Africa last weekend as miraculous, others describe it as lucky. However, despite a shaky year, England managed to come out on top against the Springboks. The defence came through for the English, especially inside the 22m line, to shut down an aggressive South Africa attack.
However, England can’t rely on what worked against South Africa if they want to beat New Zealand. For one, all twelve of England’s points against South Africa came from penalty kicks. This will not be enough against the All Blacks, meaning England will not be able to rely on the reliable leg of fly-half Owen Farrell to run up the score, they will have to score some tries. Farrell actually represents another issue for England - discipline. In the dying moments of the game against South Africa, Farrell hit Springboks full-back André Esterhuizen with a hard tackle that could have easily been called as a penalty. The referee called it fair but England can’t afford to make risky plays like that against New Zealand. Giving up penalties, or losing players to the sin bin in more severe cases, does nothing more than give the All Blacks yet further advantage. On the other side of the ball, New Zealand come into this game as the firm favourites. They are potent and powerful as always, highlighted by the 69 points they put up against Japan last weekend. However, they are not perfect and England will have to believe they stand a chance. England’s newfound line speed, the result of former All Blacks head coach John Mitchell’s work as England’s new defence coach, may cause the All Blacks problems and the crowd will no doubt be loud and supportive in the hope of the upset. It should be a thrilling match at Twickenham.
Honourable mentions around the globe to boxing, where Oleksandr Usyk looks to defend all four of his world titles against Tony Bellew in a bout in Manchester. The Ukrainian Usyk is unbeaten and currently holds the IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC cruiserweight belts. Only the sixth time in boxing history that all four world titles will be on the line, Bellew looks to upset one of the best modern boxers. All eyes will be on the Manchester Arena to see if history will be made. Elsewhere, in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers look to end a four-game losing streak as they face the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund look to extend their lead at the top of the table as they host Bayern Munich at Signal Iduna Park.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by All Blacks; England Rugby
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