Lewis Moody: Beware complacency – hurt Wallabies will fight to regain some lost pride

Moody Views

The visit of Australia offers a great opportunity for England at this stage of the team's development under Stuart Lancaster. If England can win this game it sets them up very nicely for South Africa and the All Blacks. Three wins is really what is needed this autumn. That would be seen as real progress towards the ultimate goal in 2015.

It would be a mistake to read too much into Australia's defeat to France. One bad game does not make Australia a bad team. In the previous outing they drew with the All Blacks. While the result in Paris was extraordinary, it is worth remembering that the French could and perhaps should have been World Champions in New Zealand last year. So perspective is required.

Indeed complacency could be a big threat to England this weekend, though I'm sure that the coach will be reminding the players of that and I don't believe for one minute that the likes of Graham Roundtree, Mike Catt and Andy Farrell will be thinking along those lines. But after a big defeat there is always the danger that the idea this Australia side might be there for the taking could creep into the minds of the players.

There is some discontent in the Aussie ranks. Things are not quite going for Robbie Deans at the moment but he has proved himself a great coach in club rugby, particularly at Canterbury. His biggest problem is the absence of key players. Australia thought they would have David Pocock back but he was ruled out yesterday. There is no Will Genia at scrum-half. Quade Cooper has talked himself out of the side. These are players that would go straight into any team in the world.

Sometimes adversity can be used to pull a squad together, as England showed in 2007. Our attitude was that we were better than the results showed and we were determined to prove that and move forward together. And there is no doubt after back to back defeats to England the last time the teams met in 2010 Australia will be desperate to put one over the old enemy, especially at Twickenham.

They still have world-class players in that squad and they will want to bounce back. The coach is going to want to prove his mettle and captain Nathan Sharpe, a very proud Australian, will not want to walk off a loser again on Saturday. So this has the potential to be a tough, tough encounter. England have a few selection decisions to make, but having got any rust out of the system in that first match against Fiji, they can really build on that display.

It looks like Chris Ashton will return but it would have been a tough call to sit down Charlie Sharples after the game he had. Ugo Monye also played well, has a wealth of experience and was also on the score board. He can consider himself unlucky not to be in the squad for Saturday but England could not have both of them with Ashton to be accommodated.

Joe Marler had a hard time in the scrum against South Africa during the summer. He has learned from that experience and there has been a great improvement this season. Tom Youngs at hooker did well. Learning your trade at Leicester under Richard Cockerill is no bad place to round off rough edges. The scrum is the one area where Australia have consistently under-performed over the years. Despite the noises coming out of their camp to the contrary, this will be an area where England should profit.

The Aussies will look to get stuck into England at the line-out with Sharpe in charge. They will target Geoff Parling, and try to put as much pressure on Youngs' throws as they can. That said, he was immaculate in that area against Fiji, proving people wrong who questioned his technical ability. Doing that against Australia will be a different challenge, however, but after nailing the basics well against Fiji I have no doubt that he will rise to it.

The first 20 minutes are crucial. If we knock them down in that period, keep the number of errors to a minimum and get a score on the board then England will be very hard to beat. Concede turnover like we did against Fiji and it will be a different game. Australia are world class at taking advantage of turnover ball and broken play.

Ireland miss out on another good chance

The best match of the weekend, if not the whole autumn, might turn out to be France versus Argentina, who showed against Wales how quickly they are developing as a truly world-class outfit. Rugby is better for their elevation. I'm only sad that the great Felipe Contepomi will not be playing after limping out through injury.

Over the years Contepomi has been a joy to behold and a pain in the arse to play against. It was a sad way to end his career but fitting one in the way Argentina won in Cardiff.

Pumas serve notice of development

Ireland had a great opportunity to get a first win against the All Blacks in the summer and didn't. On Saturday there was another chance to claim a great southern hemisphere scalp in South Africa. The difference was South Africa took advantage when playing with the extra man after Jamie Heaslip was binned and Ireland didn't when JB Pietersen was carded. South Africa have been world champions twice for good reason. They know how to close out games when not at their best.

Lewis Moody is a TAG Heuer ambassador

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat