Bath centre Joseph has recovered from the pectoral muscle problem which kept him out of last weekend’s crushing loss to Wales just in time to resume his midfield partnership with Brad Barritt. “It’s a knockout game no matter what anyone has said it’s an important game”.
Owen Farrell has been retained at fly-half – George Ford continues on the bench – with Burgess set to reprise the role of second-half impact replacement that he played against Fiji.
As the game became more open in the second half, Fiji began to exploit the space and overrun Wales through the middle, leading to another penalty under the posts but Volavola skewed it wide.
Whether that scenario has entered Lancaster’s head this week in his down time is something only he will know.
“The over-riding message at the start of the week was to get up and get on with it”, said Lancaster. “We wanted to go to the final, it has been a setback, but it just makes us more hungry to go on and improve”.
A victory in Twickenham will have given the boys a huge confidence boost and we will take that to our next game and grow as a team.
Gareth Davies guided Wales to a nail-biting 23-13 victory over Fiji on Thursday (Oct 1) to pile the pressure on Pool A rivals Australia and England.
Cheika said: “Michael and David have played too well for me not to keep them together”.
His initial contract was extended to the 2020 World Cup a year ago but should he become the first coach to fail to get England out of the pool phase, there is a strong possibility that he might walk away. “He gave us what we were looking for – his defensive strength and qualities but his kicking game was excellent”, Lancaster said.
“If you start distracting yourself with “what-ifs”, you are not doing your job”.
The Australian scrum has transformed from a perceived weakness to an undeniable strength in recent times but England captain Chris Robshaw has urged his troops to attack the Wallabies up front at Twickenham on Saturday. “It’s a must-win game now, you can’t sit and sulk”. Australia’s second-string lineup beat Uruguay 65-3 in Birmingham on Sunday, a day after England lost 28-25 to Wales.
But if England are to beat Australia they will need to show a ruthless streak absent against Wales, where their failure to put the match beyond the reach of the visitors came back to haunt them. Cheika is a stand up straight talking bloke and the reality is the Aussie camp know beating England is going to be a monumental task.
Hooper added that Cheika’s confidence in him and Pocock played a large part in them being so effective as a combination. We want to really use that as best we can while keeping our eyes on the prize.