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With the team sheets in and only three days to go to the England vs Australia crunch match, attention now turns to the detail of who might emerge victorious. For different reasons, this game is massive for both countries. For Australia, a win would be a great statement of intent in this overall tournament, although for them, a defeat does not mean it’s all over.

Michael Cheika has cleverly deflected any negative press about previous performances and built up a ‘safety net’ for his coaching team and players, by playing down the Wallabies chances. However, behind closed doors the drive and determination to beat the English in their own backyard is likely to be huge.

Cheika’s comments about whether or not there’s added satisfaction to be had out of beating England and knocking them out of the tournament are interesting,

He said, "No, if you are playing for that reason you haven't got a real reason for why you want to do it yourself. Anything we are doing here is for us. Not to do anything to anyone else. Those external motivations, they last for two minutes on the field. When you are going to go through 80 minutes of warfare, or our version of it, you need bigger motivations than that.”

What does this tell us? 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.

Privately, it may be the Aussie camp doesn’t see the game as the defining moment for the national side and that win, lose or draw this team and its achievements have a way to go before it can be seen as successful and capable of competing at the top level on a regular basis. A team that others fear facing.

There’s certainly a case to be made for believing that Cheika has planned for the game against Wales the following Saturday at Twickenham to be his team’s defining moment.

He is a meticulous planner and while Australia will do their best to win on Saturday, defeat will leave them a cup final against a Welsh side who have been ravaged by injury

As for England it really is do or die time and their build up to the game will have been affected by the result last week. The truth is they dominated Wales for 60 minutes and were comfortable without playing their best rugby. However, ill-discipline and poor decisions mean they are now a wounded beast and only a win will suffice.

They are expected to come out quickly at the Australians as they did against Wales – and to be more disciplined. That is something they will have certainly focused on, so scoring points might prove difficult for the Wallabies.

They say forwards win you games and the backs decide by how many. In most part, this is true. Cheika is bringing a new style of coaching and play to a Wallabies team that had it tough in the forward line previously against England.

England number 8 Ben Morgan has been quick to remind them this week with Cheika responding by saying, “They’ve stuck it to us the last couple of times so there’s nothing we can say in our room that's going to make any difference. The only place things are going to be different is on the field on Saturday night and that’s where we’ve got to show our colours. Talk's cheap, you know.”

For England the reality is lose the game and they are out of their home tournament, so expect a nervy game for both sides. If the real England turn up for the whole 80 minutes they should win the game.

If the Wallabies can stifle the English play and upset them, they might give themselves enough opportunities as Wales did last week.

It almost certainly won’t be a classic but either way it is a must watch game.

 


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