Aussie wrap (Fri)

Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from Australia’s year-end tour.

Amped Aussies want respect

Australia flyhalf Matt Giteau admits training sessions have reached new levels of intensity as his side attempts to avenge last year’s World Cup heartache.

Despite dominating England in Australia, the Wallabies have struggled in Europe – their last away victory over the Roses coming at Twickenham four years ago.

“It doesn’t get any bigger an occasion than playing England at Twickenham,” Giteau said.

“Even at training, the intensity and things like that – any drills, defensive drills – when you’re not supposed to be hitting hard, guys are still hitting hard. The intensity is right up there and everyone is really looking forward to this game.”

Veteran flanker Phil Waugh claimed victory was essential for the side’s international credibility.

“We need to perform here in the northern hemisphere. Once we do that, we can gain some respect,” said Waugh.

“Our last visit wasn’t a memorable one – it was memorable for all the wrong reasons – and obviously the World Cup last year was disappointing.”

England keen to blunt Wallabies attack

Nullifying Stirling Mortlock and Matt Giteau is England’s primary concern ahead of Saturday’s clash at Twickenham.

Confident of matching the Wallabies up front, defence coach Mike Ford believes shutting down Australia’s attacking backline is the key to another home triumph over the men in gold.

“Australia are smart. They have been in the past. They usually come up with a couple of plays to try and test you out that you have not seen before,” said Ford.

“I don’t think they have gone through a game this year without scoring a try. They have 28 tries in 11 games. It will be a major effort to keep them out.

“I think our back three will be tested early, but we are confident they can handle anything thrown at them.”

Ford believes England’s ability to minimise the influence of Australia’s 10-12 axis will be crucial.

“Mortlock is a talisman,” he added. “They will come at that 10-12 channel off the set piece and try and dent our defence. He does that as well as anybody in the world and we feel if we can get parity in that area, it will go a long way to stopping Australia.

“Giteau is a magician. He gets the ball in space and some of the offloads he gets away are unbelievable at times.

“With [Berrick] Barnes out, there is a lot of pressure on him to create stuff. He will probably get the ball 90% of the time. If we can control him, we will do well.”

More to follow …