Graham Rowntree: England must start beating the major South Hemisphere teams


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The Independent Online

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree today demanded England start beating the major South Hemisphere teams, starting with Australia at Twickenham tomorrow.

England go into the match as favourites after hammering Fiji while the Wallabies were losing 33-6 to France in Paris.

Australia are also beset by injuries, with key flanker David Pocock, centre Pat McCabe and lock Kane Douglas all sidelined while lock Rob Simmons is suspended.

However, Rowntree highlighted the depth of experience the visitors still possess compared to England.

He said;” We have to start beating these teams who come here in the Autumn series of matches. it’s about time that started.

“This is a very experienced Wallaby side and will be very tough , regardless of what happened against France.They are a cagey team who will make things very hard for us at the break down to get quick ball but we are a good side punching it’s weight.

“I don’t buy into the theory that we have an edge at the scrum and even though we did score two push over tries in 2010 in Perth we still lost the game.”

England have enjoyed more success against the Wallabies than either the Springboks or world champions New Zealand in recent years.

“They are a cagey team, a very skilful team,” Rowntree said.

“You never know where the next threat is coming from so you have to have everything covered. That is what we have found in recent years.

“This is another big step for us this weekend.”

England are expected to dominate the scrum battle, as they have in previous Cook Cup encounters, but one area the Wallabies have reinforced is the front row with the return of prop Ben Alexander.

“I don’t buy into this perceived edge (we are expected to have) at scrum time,” Rowntree continued.

“They are a very experienced forward pack, particularly the front row. Their forwards have got three times as many caps as ours.

“In Perth in 2010 we scored two pushover penalty tries and still lost. There is a moral in that story. We have to put the same attention to all of our game.”

Captain Chris Robshaw said:” There is always a great rivalry with Australia in any sport and these games are going to get harder every week.”