England vs Australia: Stuart Lancaster's team in dire need of ‘big three’ victory

Lancaster's men desperate to sign off below-par autumn international series by beating Australia at Twickenham today

Click to follow
The Independent Online

England have not beaten one of rugby union’s southern hemisphere superpowers since their victory over Australia a little over a year ago and if they fail to make Twickenham advantage count against the same opposition – their last shot at a “big three” nation before the 2015 World Cup – they will run the risk of going into that all-important global tournament with a potentially damaging inferiority complex.

“We need to finish this series of matches on a high by producing a good performance and a scoreline to match,” said Andy Farrell, the red-rose backs coach, in his eve-of-Test address.

“At this stage, it’s a case of the bigger the game, the better. Are we at our best with our backs against the wall?

“We’re about to see. There’s some tension in the camp, but that’s what you need ahead of an occasion like this one. We need to play with the right attitude, and with the right level of passion, if we’re to move forward.”

The two sides will pay tribute to the Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, who died this week after being struck by a short-pitched delivery during a state match in Sydney, by leading the capacity 82,000 crowd in a one-minute ovation.

Michael Cheika, appointed coach of the Wallabies just before the start of this tour, said: “I never met Phil, but when I heard about it I cried. We want to show his family that we care. Any type of respect we can show, we will. We’ve made some requests but we’re just waiting to hear back.”