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VIDEO – Lancaster positive but wary of Wallaby backlash

12 November 2012

  • Stuart Lancaster says side need to focus on Australia challenge
  • Young players showed their quality in Fiji clash

Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has praised England's performance last weekend against Fiji but has also warned that Australia’s heavy loss to France will make the Wallabies an even more dangerous opponent when they visit Twickenham on Saturday.

Australian were beaten 33-6 in Paris last Saturday while England scored seven tries in a 54-12 victory over the Pacific Islanders at Twickenham.   

Although England got off to the perfect start in their QBE Internationals this year, thanks to some strong individual performances from the likes of Charlie Sharples and Alex Goode, Lancaster says that England have to use this week to build towards the challenge of Australia this weekend.

The Wallabies recently drew 18-18 with New Zealand in the Rugby Championship and Lancaster said: “We have to take the positives from last weekend but there are areas that we need to work on and clearly training today and tomorrow is critical in that regard.

"We will take those things forward but we will also take forward a view on Australia and how they will prepare on the back of losing against France. There is bound to be a reaction from them.

“The game before that they drew 18 all with the All Blacks and we have all seen the quality of the All Blacks performances so it’s fair to say that there will be a different Australia that we face on Saturday and we have to be ready for it.”

Since Lancaster took over as England coach he has followed through on his promise of building a new England squad with a number of relatively inexperienced players starring in last weekend’s win over Fiji.

England full back Alex Goode on the run against Fiji

Photo: Getty Images

Saracen’s full back Goode started at 15 for only the second time but Lancaster's decision was vindicated by the 23-year-old sparkling attacking form, providing assists for the three of the first four tries.

“He has a great game understanding and has the ability not only to influence the game but also to manipulate and move defenders around and put people in holes,” said Lancaster. “He is just an intelligent rugby player and offers us great options at full back.”

Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs also impressed from the start on debut – England claimed 16 of 16 from his lineout delivery – and Lancaster was also able to hand debuts to a pair of 21-year-olds as replacements, Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury.

Outling that the pair made appearances on merit and not because England were running away with the game, Lancaster added: “It was nice to be able to start  them in an environment where we felt they could take their opportunities and not worry about the pressure of it.

"But equally we have got confidence in the players. We didn’t just put them on to give them experience; we put them on because we believe they are good enough."