Toby Flood: There will be more to our game than slugging it out in a forward battle

Inside the Camp: I couldn't help but be impressed by James O'Connor - he has real nerve to play like that

This is my first time in Australia and so far I'm impressed, even if the national sport appears to be beating Poms at anything from cards to rugby. It doesn't take long to realise this is a country that is passionate about sport and we are all too aware of the challenge that awaits us in Perth tomorrow and Sydney next week.

The talk here in the media ahead of tomorrow's first Test is of taking Australia on up front. Of course we have to play to our strengths and if that is up front then that is what we must aim to do – you have to be realistic, we are playing Australia in Australia and that's a tough assignment. But we will still look for the opportunity to go wide or attack in other areas if the chance arises. It is also doing them an injustice to talk down their pack – I know as a player that when people don't give you respect it only fires you up even more.

Historically, England have not done well down here, but for a player it has to be about the here and now. It always is. We know all about the "Tour from Hell" in 1998, but then everyone has their stories of being on the wrong end of a hammering – I remember conceding 85 points at Leicester once when playing for Newcastle. It happens, but you move on. It will be a really tough Test match but we are convinced we can cause them problems.

Tomorrow will be the first time I've played with Shontayne Hape. He was around the squad during the RBS Six Nations and we've had some pretty intensive training since arriving Perth. He is a strong ball carrier and has particularly good awareness of what's going on around him. His particular strength is in the off-load and we will be looking to run support lines off him. His League skills are undoubtedly transferable into union, but what takes time is picking up the feel of the game. In union there is more freedom for individual players to make decisions.

It may have been a long season and the body has taken a bit of a battering, but I still feel good – it's been an enjoyable campaign and it was a huge achievement for Leicester to win the Guinness Premiership. We were picked up from Leicester the day after the game and set straight off on tour, so it has been pretty relentless and some days you can feel a bit sore. But then you are on tour with England, getting ready to play against one of the world's best teams... what greater incentive do you need?

As for the opposition, I couldn't help but be impressed by James O'Connor's performance for the Australian Barbarians on Tuesday. To go out there and produce like that when you know you are in effect auditioning for the Test team takes real nerve. When you are a young player just starting out on your career you do go on gut feeling and the trick is not to lose that as you progress, not to become too regimented. Quade Cooper, my opposite number at 10, will be a threat too. What he's good at is skipping around the field and bringing others into play. He is dangerous.

We spend our time chasing winters around the world so it's been good to have some cloudless skies and even time on the beach. We went surfing on Scarborough Beach earlier in the week – but that stopped pretty quickly when someone pointed out there had been a shark attack up the coast. You have never seen the front row move so quickly.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little