We’re battle-hardened, insist Wallabies

Refreshed as well as battle-hardened is how the Wallabies feel heading into their crucial World Cup pool match with England at Twickenham.

While England are coming off an emotionally-draining and physically demanding loss to Wales, Australia by comparison waltzed through their opening two Pool A fixtures with wins over second-tier nations Fiji and Uruguay.

In the six weeks since Australia’s heavy defeat to New Zealand in the second Bledisloe Test in Auckland, the Wallabies played three tier one nations – with a 47-10 thrashing of the USA at Soldier Field in Chicago coming with a second-string lineup, similar to the 65-3 mauling of Uruguay on Sunday.

The starting lineup for the Uruguay rout included 14 changes from Australia’s World Cup opener – with only Scott Sio retaining his place at loosehead prop.

While coach Michael Cheika insists several spots are up for grabs, it is expected the Wallabies will run with a similar lineup to that which faced Fiji – many of whom have started just the one match in six weeks.

England’s players, on the other hand, are describing the match as their World Cup final and have already had a taste of top-tier rugby – in the form of the highly-rated Wales.

But Wallabies captain Stephen Moore said it won’t give England an edge in what is anticipated to be a physically demanding encounter.

“I think that Fiji game particularly was a really tough game, they were very physical,” Moore said.

“It was our first game for a while and I think we benefited a lot from that game.

“We haven’t looked at it as easy games – they’re all difficult games.

“You’ve seen the so-called second-tier nations and the commitment they’ve shown in their games.”

Halfback Will Genia agreed, saying the intense training camps in Notre Dame in the USA and at Bath in south-west England prior to the start of the tournament would serve the Wallabies well.

“It’s a World Cup – everyone itching, everyone training really hard, everyone’s ready,” he said.

“We’ve done a lot of the groundwork in terms of the physical preparation. It’s now making sure we get things mentally right.”

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