- Catt expects better execution against Australia
- Wallabies have X-Factor players
England must translate visits to the opposition 22 into points more effectively if they are to compete with the world’s best this autumn, according to Mike Catt.
Stuart Lancaster’s side started the QBE Internationals with a 54-12 victory over Fiji at the weekend but the feeling in the camp was that a series of try-scoring opportunities were squandered.
During the seven-try win, 53 per cent of England’s rucks were in the Fiji 22 or Red Zone, with 10 minutes of playing time spent there. While Catt was encouraged by England’s tempo and shape in attack, the 2003 world cup winner expects a better conversion rate.
The Attacking Skills Coach said: “On the critical side of things we probably left four or five tries out there – we went over the try line four times without actually putting the ball down.
“The problem is when you get into the opposition 22 you want to come away with points all the time and we didn’t – that is something we need to address. Against other teams you are only going to get there two or three times and you have to come away with points.
“In South Africa we were very good, we had a high percentage rate so it’s about getting back up there for the next three internationals.
“But to score seven tries against any international side is good, the way we scored them, we had good shape, good organisation, players did what they are good at and for me that’s important. From my point of view we played with tempo, played with speed of ball, moved the ball well and the guys worked hard.”
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Catt was capped 76 times for England and has much history against the Wallabies, having played against them 11 times. The most memorable games were in 2003 and 2007, with Catt playing a significant role in the two world cup encounters.
The last time England played Australia at Twickenham, 25 points from Toby Flood – the highest by an Englishman against the Wallabies – and two scintillating tries from Chris Ashton inspired the hosts to a 35-18 win, equalling England’s biggest margin of victory over Australia.
But for 1997 British and Irish Lion Catt , history will have little bearing on the outcome next Saturday.
“Whether you are a favourite or an underdog on the day, it just doesn’t matter,” he said. “In the 2007 world cup we had no confidence going into that quarter final and Australia were absolutely flying, but England ended up beating them.
“It’s one of those games where history means nothing, it’s about that moment at that time. And if Australia come away from this autumn beating England they’ll see it as a successful so it’s key that we get it right.”
“They’re a wounded animal. It didn’t go particularly well for them against France at the weekend [losing 33-6] but in the same breath they’re third in the world at the moment, they’ve played a lot of rugby over the past four months together and they’ve got those X-factor players who can turn game with one bit of brilliance.”