ENGLAND head into tomorrow’s grudge match against Australia if not riding the crest of a wave, then certainly with a new sense of optimism following last weekend’s rousing second-half comeback against New Zealand.
The Wallabies, fresh from a win over Wales in Cardiff, will provide a stern test of our credentials, but England should believe they are capable of pulling off a famous win. If Johnno’s boys follow these three tips, those Aussies will be leaving with their tails between their legs.
FEED OFF THE TWICKENHAM CROWD
As ever, the atmosphere at HQ for a match of this magnitude will be magnificent. But after last weekend’s encouraging display, you get the sense that the feel-good factor is back. The fans will be turning up knowing, rather than hoping, they’ll be entertained by this England side. It will make a big difference having the fans back on the edge of their seats after a pretty miserable couple of years. We must use that to our advantage.
England have had joy against the Aussie scrum in the recent past, but they shouldn’t just rely on brute strength here. The Australians will be well prepared and will know what to expect. When I played against them I always thought they were the best thinking team around. England will have to come up with something more inventive than utilising their strength up front. In any case, those Aussie mutants always find a way of escaping punishment in the scrum.
That historic victory back in the summer really should hand England a psychological edge. We shouldn’t tire of reminding the opposition we’ve had their number and with a passionate home crowd behind them, England should regard themselves as favourites.
Stopping their backs will be key, they’ve got some real class acts in midfield. Denying the likes of Quade Cooper, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Matt Giteau the time to set the tempo will be far from easy, but we’ve done it before and we can do it again.
To get the inside scope on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, watch the latest episode of “O2 Inside Line” on RFU TV at: www.rfu.com/o2insideline.