-: Oct 14, 2019 / Ustshahli Ustshahli

Rugby World Cup: England need pack leader to beat Australia – Matt Dawson column


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I believe England coach Eddie Jones choice to proceed Owen Farrell into fly-half to get Saturdays quarter-final against Australia will be the one that is right.
In fact, so long as Henry Slade was fit to replace him in the centres, I believe it was inevitable.
Im for George Ford, who has started every match of this World Cup at 10, because he has played well in Japan – although his form in the huge matches has counted against him.
In the handful of huge pressure games at global level in his profession he has slightly wobbled.
It may be a little harsh on him since he is further down on the line and more confident today. But certainly before when hes played knock-out games with big decisions, I would not have always said he would be my first choice.
Farrell, together with Manu Tuilagi and Slade outside him was a combination throughout the Six Countries.
Its a mix that the resistance fought to find any change out of in defence, and then was very threatening in attack.
It shuts down a great deal of alternatives for the opposition in terms of where they could attack since Farrell is so solid there – theyve got to come up with something different.
But there is going to be a question mark over Slade, who has not played with more than 40 minutes of rugby since May due to a knee injury. Can he be sharp?
Surely on a Small run he had been through the Six Nations. He seemed very dangerous moving ahead. He ran excellent supporting lines, demonstrated feet and great ability – kicking in addition to running.
Defensively, that he read the drama brilliantly – so I like that mix.
Australia are going to come out with something which England will not expect and havent seen before.
Its a shout putting 19-year-old Jordan Petaia, that has two caps, also at at centre. However, it is his position – rather than the wing, where hes won his caps – so it isnt like him is completely throwing in at the deep end.
Englands attention is going to be on Petaia, so youre able to guarantee that Australia are thinking about moving somewhere else and playing in a different way so that England will have to update their defence.
Theyre a smart bunch and England have to be very open-minded concerning what Australia will bring.
The 1 surprise for me in the choice for Saturday of Australia is Will Genia since I do not think hes been on form, playing at nine. I believe Nic White has been more solid as a starter and Genia has arrived on when the game is available.
If I had been in that England aspect Id be thinking, theres the guy we will squeeze. They have to attempt to put pressure onto the ruck that Genia gets ball that is static also becomes a little indecisive. I believe England will embrace that selection that is scrum-half.
Additionally, Genia and fly-half Christian Lealiifano have just begun together once before. In contrast Ben Youngs and Farrell, theres a enormous difference there.
In the back row, Australia will should make sure the adventure of David Pocock and captain Michael Hooper provides them an edge over England flankers Sam Underhill along with Tom Curry.
But it might only ignite Underhill and Curry to be the stars of this World Cup. If they get it directly from Pocock and Hooper, who are around as the finest in the world as a venture, the England boys will place their name in lights.
Pocock and Hooper will know that their standing is up for grabs along with this sport will receive all their attention and then some.
In every one these quarter-finals youre going to get every ounce of work and expertise – everything is going to be thrown on the market. Nothing is going to be left to happen.
Nothing else matters, Whenever you have built up for it for four years. There are no warm-up games, there is no qualification from the pool. This is it. That is the reason they sacrificed themselves, why they have been playing as long as they own and exactly everything they dreamt of from if they were in school.
You have got Pocock and Hooper that were around the block, played with some big matches, but not won a World Cup. It will be their final opportunity.
Then you have got the young pretenders coming who were likely motivated by Pocock and Hooper and today want to take their mantle.
The question hanging around Englands performances has always been, is that they win the game if they are behind with 20 minutes to move?
Of course, I would prefer England not to maintain that position. But it could come to the direction within the group. You have got Farrell as captain, but who is the pack leader? It is not easy to say. If you ask eight people theyd probably name eight unique players.
When it comes to pressure moments, 1 voice at the forward has to make things happen.
There are loads of players with 50 or more caps. They ought to be, by today, good enough at making those choices.
It is whether they get it done in a quarter-final of their World Cup if theres no tomorrow, no debrief. Its triumph and move on or go home.
Matt Dawson was speaking to BBC Sports Becky Grey.
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