Eddie Jones boasts a flawless record against the Wallabies as England head coach, but the visitors arrive down under amid another difficult run of form.
Having won only two of five matches during another poor Six Nations campaign, an understrength team were embarrassed in a heavy 52-21 mauling by a 14-man Barbarians side at Twickenham last month.
Though now boosted by the returns of the Saracens and Leicester players that contested a classic Premiership final, England remain without some key names due to injury as they desperately seek a morale boost with the 2023 World Cup fast approaching on the horizon and growing disillusionment over Jones and the RFU’s leadership.
The tourists are likely in for a tough ride against Australia, who are currently the bookmakers’ favourites having shown improvements under Dave Rennie despite being bested by the All Blacks once again in last year’s Bledisloe Cup and embarking upon a desperate autumn tour in which they lost to England, Scotland and Wales.
The first Test in Perth is followed by two more contests on consecutive Saturdays, taking place in Brisbane and Sydney respectively. Gone is the old Cook Cup, which has been retired and replaced by the Ella-Mobbs Cup for matches between Australia and England from this tour onwards.
Australia vs England date, kick-off time and venue
The first Test between Australia and England takes place on Saturday July 2, 2022, with kick-off scheduled for 10:55am BST.
Hosting the opening clash in the series is the 65,000-capacity Optus Stadium in Perth, Western Australia.
How to watch Australia vs England
TV channel: In the UK, Australia vs England is being broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action, with coverage beginning at 10:15am.
Live stream: Subscribers can also watch the game unfold live online via the Sky Go app.
Live coverage: You can follow all the action as it happens on Saturday morning with Standard Sport’s LIVE match blog.
Australia vs England team news
Owen Farrell is back for England after an injury-plagued campaign but is not the captain, with Jones instead preferring to keep Courtney Lawes in that role - a decision that has apparently left his former skipper “very unhappy”.
Farrell lines up at inside centre alongside Joe Marchant, with the recalled Danny Care earning his first England cap since November 2018 as part of a half-back pairing alongside Harlequins team-mate Marcus Smith, with Ben Youngs staying back to support his family following the recent death of brother Tom’s wife Tiffany.
Joe Cokanasiga and Jack Nowell are on the wings with Jonny May isolating due to Covid, with Freddie Steward at full-back. England are without the likes of first-choice midfield partners Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade due to injury.
In the pack, Billy Vunipola is recalled and starts at No8 with Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds both injured, while Lawes and Tom Curry line up on the flanks and Maro Itoje is partned by Jonny Hill in the second row.
Kyle Sinckler’s absence means tighthead prop Will Stuart joins Ellis Genge and Jamie George in the front row, while ‘apprentice’ Henry Arundell, Guy Porter and Jack van Poortvliet are all poised to earn their maiden caps from the bench.
The headline team news from an Australia perspective comes with 33-year-old Brumbies lock Cadeyrn Neville being handed a surprise start as his nation’s oldest debutant this century.
There is also a debut for hooker Dave Porecki, while veteran playmaker Quade Cooper is preferred to Noah Lolesio at fly-half with James O’Connor not fully fit and Nic White at 9. Michael Hooper captains the side as usual from openside flanker.
Australia vs England lineups
Australia XV: Banks; Kellaway, Ikitau, Kerevi, Koroibete; Cooper, White; Bell, Porecki, Alaalatoa, Swain, Neville, Leota, Hooper (c), Valetini.
Replacements: Fainga'a, Sio, Slipper, Philip, Samu, Gordon, Lolesio, Petaia.
England XV: Steward; Nowell, Marchant, Farrell, Cokanasiga; Smith, Care; Genge, George, Stuart, Itoje, Hill, Lawes (c), Curry, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Heyes, Chessum, Ludlam, Van Poortlviet, Porter, Arundell.
Australia vs England prediction
England have certainly had Australia’s number under former Wallabies boss Jones, who has revelled in dishing out the blows to his homeland over the years.
However, this series has a markedly different feel with the visitors mired in such a difficult run after another underwhelming Six Nations and the end of the Jones era looming after next year’s World Cup.
The Aussies were brushed aside on their dismal northern hemisphere tour last autumn, but will fancy their chances of taking advantage of England’s ongoing issues and starting the three-match series with a bang.
Australia to win by five points.
Australia vs England head to head (h2h) history and results
The overall head to head between these two old rivals is actually very close, with England having won 26 matches to Australia’s 25... with one draw.
But England have dominated this fixture under Jones, winning eight in a row including a famous series whitewash in 2016, four autumn victories and a triumph in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Oita.
The teams last met at Twickenham last November, when the hosts ran out 32-15 winners in a scrappy affair.
Australia have not beaten England since a terrific 33-13 win at a stunned Twickenham in October 2015 sealed the hosts’ dire early exit from the pool stages of the World Cup under Stuart Lancaster.
Australia vs England betting odds
Australia to win: 8/11
England to win: 6/5
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).