While much of the attention has been on the battle up front as being the decisive factor in the Wallabies’ decisive World Cup showdown, Will Genia has warned teammates not to underestimate England’s potent backline.
England has traditionally built it’s success in the 15-a-side game on a dominant forward pack – and recent wins over the Wallabies, including four of their past five clashes, have been remembered for knock-out victories in the scrum.
But in livewire fullback Mike Brown and electric wingers Anthony Watson and Jonny May, England have a dynamic back three to match Australia’s highly-rated trio led by the brilliant Israel Folau.
“Their backline is very, very classy,” Genia said.
“Mike Brown at fullback whos very silky and very good under the high ball.
“As of late they’ve been kicking the ball a fair bit and (Brown has) very good at regaining it.
“(Halfback) Ben Youngs is obviously an exceptional player who played very well before he went off and their whole backs three, Jonny May and Watson, I think.
“They are all very silky, very quick.”
The expected return of classy outside centre Jonathan Joseph from a chest injury gives the host nation another backline weapon in the vital clash – which could decide the World Cup fortunes of both nations.
Rugby league convert Sam Burgess has reportedly been dropped to the bench as one of Stuart Lancaster’s response to last weekend’s costly loss to Wales – allowing Brad Barritt to revert to his preferred inside centre role, which the hosts hope will further strengthen their midfield.
“They’re all players who can beat you one on one,” Genia said.
“If they create space for them and give them opportunity they will be good enough to do it so we’ve just got to make sure we defensively don’t give them that room and we shut them down.”
Australia has conceded just one try, in their opener against Fiji, this World Cup and Genia accepted that record would be tested on Saturday unless Australia is properly prepared for England.
“It gives them a different dimension to their game,” he said.
“They can attack you from anywhere but they not only have the talent in the forwards but in the backs.
“Defensively, it’s going to be a tough job, a tough night but you wouldn’t expect anything else from a World Cup match.”