- England pack must front up against Wallabies
- Set piece can provide solid attacking platform for backline
Lock Geoff Parling says the England pack will have to be on top of their game this weekend against Australia if they are to overpower the Wallabies at the set piece.
The Leicester Tigers man was part of the pack that dismantled Fiji last week, winning 16 lineouts from 16 and 11 of 14 scrums. The dominant display up front allowed England to score seven tries and clock up 54 points in total.
Conversely Australia were put to the sword at the Stade de France, losing 33-6 to Les Bleus, and are missing a number of key players, including world class duo back row David Pocock and scrum half Will Genia, for Saturday’s clash at Twickenham.
The Australia scrum in particular has been a hot topic of conversation this week and is seen by many as an area of weakness to be exploited by the England pack. Parling says the forwards are still wary of the Australian threat at set pieces but hopes that England can continue where they left off against Fiji.
“Against Fiji I thought we were good at set pieces and we certainly had dominance there,” said Parling. “You can appreciate that the scrum was a bit scrappy at times but we definitely had the upper hand there. The lineout was pleasing also and we were generally very good around the park.
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“It’s going to be a lot tougher this weekend though. In the press the Australia scrum is under pressure but they are going to be fired up and we are going to have to be on top of our game. They have some really experienced players in there such as Ben Alexander, and they will be keen to put one over on us.
The solid set piece platform against Fiji allowed fly half Toby Flood and full back Alex Goode to exploit the wider channels in the backs, which led to a number of tries last weekend. Parling believes that solid set piece plays from the forwards can catalyse the backline into playing really attacking rugby.
“The scrum is important in any game and the set pieces provide good platforms to play from. They give you the ball to carry out your attacking shapes and in the scrum especially you can mentally drain your opposition, wear them down and take the legs out of them for later in the game. The set piece is a massive area of the game.
“From an exit scrum you can get a penalty which makes it a little easier to get out of your own half and helps keep the scoreboard ticking over. You will have to speak to the 9s and 10s but they will says that when they have a good platform to play off it’s so much easier for them as well.”