Progress points to defeat of Australia

New year forecast: what to expect in the next 12 months
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Some in this country have got over-excited and predicted this before, but 2003 could be the year that Great Britain finally beat Australia in a Test series – honestly.

Some in this country have got over-excited and predicted this before, but 2003 could be the year that Great Britain finally beat Australia in a Test series – honestly.

This would seem an unlikely statement to make less than six months after a 50-point humiliation in Sydney, but much has happened since then to make that result look like a glitch.

The progress against New Zealand was startling and, if a number of circumstances drop into place, next autumn's Ashes series in Britain should be seriously competitive.

A back-row of Adrian Morley, Andy Farrell and Paul Sculthorpe would be genuinely world class in any era and a match for anything Australia can put on the field.

Then David Waite, England's Australian coach, would need Keiron Cunningham and Sean Long to be fit, Richard Horne and Danny Orr to continue their progress during next season and for at least one winger of real class to emerge.

On top of all that, Australia could also be a little under-prepared. After just two warm-up matches, they will then have to play two Tests in new and unfamiliar surroundings at Manchester and Hull – something that can wrong-foot them.

Great Britain beat Australia at Under-18 level for the first time ever in December. Some of those players will be pushing for places in the full Test side in a couple of years' time, so if not this time, then maybe next. For the first time in a long time, though, the feeling is there that the great day is getting closer.

Prediction: Great Britain to beat Australia in the Test series.

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