Robinson wary of threat from bulked-up Australia

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The Independent Online

The England coach Andy Robinson believes his team are not expecting another one-sided forward battle when they take on Australia in two Tests this month.

England completely dominated the pack in the teams' last meeting but their new coach John Connolly has made changes, and Robinson said: "Lots has been written about the demise of Australia but they've just been a bit unlucky. We expected they were going to bulk up the pack and I think they've done that in their front row they've selected."

Robinson is confident of victory, however, despite lacking several first-choice players. He said: "We have not brought a development side here. We have brought a team to come to win two Test matches against Australia and that is our whole mindset. This is not a development tour."

The veteran England forward Ben Kay will similarly not underestimate Australia's pack when the teams meet in the first Test in Sydney on Sunday week. Much criticism has been levelled at the Wallabies' pack since last year's humiliating tour of Europe where they lost three out of four matches.

But Connolly took Bath to the Powergen Cup Final last year with a side known for a tough, competitive pack and Kay is sure he will instil a similar work ethic in the Australian team.

"We've had a lot of dealings with the coaching staff over in England and every team they've put out has prided themselves and competed fully at first phase," Kay said. "If you look at Bath, that's probably one of their strongest points and they've got a lot of talent in that Australian pack and I'm sure when it comes up to match day, and particularly if people are going to be writing stuff saying they're not up to it, there's no better incentive to them and nothing that's going to make them play any better."