James Horwill is backing Australia to end their barren run against England and go on to win the Rugby World Cup.
The Wallabies have lost six consecutive games against England since knocking them out of the previous World Cup at Twickenham four years ago.
Eddie Jones’ side are firm favourites to continue that sequence at Oita Stadium on Saturday and set up a semi-final against two-time defending champions New Zealand or Ireland.
Yet former Australia captain Horwill thinks Michael Cheika’s men can defy the odds and lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.
Asked if the Wallabies can go all the way, he told Omnisport: “I don’t see why not. They would get New Zealand next assuming they get past Ireland, which most people would expect them to do.
“It would obviously be challenging, but if we were able to perform as we did against New Zealand in Perth [where Australia were 47-26 winners in August] with a very dominant performance, there is no reason why we can’t.
“It’s just the consistency we need, which has been lacking over the last couple of years.”
— Wallabies (@wallabies) October 17, 2019
Horwill stressed the importance of Australia starting the game against England as they finished it in a 29-25 Pool D defeat to Wales last month, when they mounted a spirited fightback but gave themselves too much to do.
“You can see the way we play we are holding the ball and not kicking a lot. I don’t see them changing the way they play.” the 34-year-old ex-lock said.
“In the Wales game, we turned the ball over too much to start with. When you hold on to the ball, as we saw in that game, you can build pressure with gaining territory.
“That is a big part of the way the Australians have been playing, keep the ball and carry hard. If we can do that, we have some very damaging runners and a potent attack.
“The key is not allowing [England] to get into the position Wales were in to start with. Build the scoreboard, manage the game really well and hopefully not chase the game.”
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