Fiji was ‘toughest test match’ for Warburton
The former Argentina hooker has succeeded, with Australia showing a marked improvement in the set-piece and the maul during the Rugby Championship. The Welsh win means that England have to beat Australia tomorrow evening at Twickenham.
Wales’ win over Fiji on Thursday has ensured England – beaten by Warren Gatland’s men in their previous Pool A match – must avoid defeat to keep alive their hopes of progressing at the tournament they are hosting.
“We’re obviously aware of what is at stake – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work it out”, said Lancaster who, controversially, was given a contract extension beyond the 2019 World Cup in Japan by the Rugby Football Union a year ago.
“We have full confidence we can do that and a massive belief that we can perform this weekend”.
Australia are also undefeated after two games, so their match against England in Twickenham will have major ramifications for which two teams qualify for the quarter-finals. Waiting in the wings is wily old fox Nick Easter, who could have a huge part to play if he is given decent game time from the bench. Fiji came at them strongly after the interval as the home team lost a little of the composure they had shown in the first half.
“When you can do that as a side and you’re not playing for yourself – you’re playing for your team-mates, family, jersey and nation – they’re the kinds of things that drive people on to want to perform and to want to be successful”.
Cheika, however, gave short shrift to those remarks.
“I know they think we’re weak in the forwards, it’s pretty obvious – they’re saying it out loud and they’ve done it to us, stuck it to us the last couple of times”.
“Not one Australian would get into that England team right now”, Cipriani said on his Paddy Power blog.
“If England had kicked for the corner against Wales at Twickenham and got a try, Chris Robshaw would be called “inspirational” on all the back pages”, said Cipriani.
But an Australia win will send England out and guarantee Wales a place in the quarter-finals. “Anything we are doing here is for us”.
If fit, Joseph is an automatic selection at outside centre and the make-up of England’s midfield hinges on his availability.
However in the second half, fatigue seemed to catch up with them while the Fijians displayed exemplary fitness.
And with Billy Vunipola and Courtney Lawes ruled out because of knee injuries, Ben Morgan will start at No. 8 and Joe Launchbury will move into the second row.
Such is the importance of this Pool A clash that Parling has labelled it England’s World Cup final. Nerves certainly seemed to beset the team as they let a 10-point lead slip from their grasp, conceding needless penalties in a performance strewn with errors.
“The hunger is unbelievable”, he said.