- Farrell calls on England to shackle Wallabies
- “We have to try to stamp our authority”
Ambitious, innovative attack is the hallmark of Australian rugby and Andy Farrell has demanded England use dogged industry to stop the Wallabies at source and impose their own game during Saturday’s fourth and final QBE International.
Speaking shortly after Tuesday morning’s session at Pennyhill Park, which shapes “game-plan detail” with the squad, Farrell started with a glance at the 28-9 victory over Samoa.
Agreeing with the sentiments of Stuart Lancaster, he hailed the contributions of Jonny May, Anthony Watson and England’s pair of half-backs Ben Youngs and George Ford. Even if gain-line dominance was not always achieved, some members of the backline excelled.
“Last week was not a complete performance by any stretch of the imagination,” Farrell admitted, before dwelling longer on the positives.
“It was a great win, but the best thing to come out of it was how some players put their hand up and played really well. The two wings scoring tries and looking very dangerous was a good part of the game.
“Ben Youngs and George Ford controlled the game and looked dangerous too.”
“There were some really good things to come out of the game, but this Australia this week is a different kettle of fish. Confidence is high though, especially with those young lads.”
Given Australia arrive at Twickenham on the back of consecutive losses to France and Ireland, this takes on something of a high-stakes dimension. With England slipping to three-point defeats to New Zealand and South Africa, a third autumn defeat would represent a bitter blow for either protagonist.
Despite similarly narrow reverses for the Wallabies this trip, their high-tempo, multi-phase approach – orchestrated by a blockbuster back division featuring superstar Israel Folau – remains capable of producing tries.
However, in the corresponding fixture a year ago, England stifled them effectively to prevail 20-13. Underlining Australia’s traditional traits, Farrell suggested pain-staking preparation and wholehearted committed would be required.
“You look at their profiles and they are very much been-there-done-that. They offer threats all over the field strength-wise and skill-wise and they back themselves.
“It’s up to us to make sure we have done our homework.
“Against any side that like to attack like Australia do, and that is the heartbeat of their game, you have to try to stamp your authority. It’s all about kick-chase pressure, breakdown pressure and set-piece pressure.
“It’s the whole combination coming together. We’ve got to have a big say and not let them do what they want to do.”
Following the resignation of Ewen McKenzie at the end of the Rugby Championship, Michael Cheika, fresh from a victorious Super 15 campaign with the Waratahs, has assumed the mantle of Wallaby head coach.
According to Farrell, former Leinster supremo Cheika has already stamped his considerable authority on the squad and Australia are reflecting his uncompromising nature. England are desperate to finish the QBE International on a high, but must produce their best.
“Work-rate, physicality and will to play – they are all Waratahs traits and they have all been shining through straight away.
“There’s a great spirit within their camp and they’ve played some great rugby on this tour although they’ve had a couple of defeats. I’m sure they’ll want to finish strongly.“It’s massive for us to prove to ourselves that there is a top-class performance in there. We want to put in an 80-minute performance and obviously the win is very important.”