Mike Catt insists England’s backs can equal Australia’s attacking threat when they face the Wallabies in a make-or-break World Cup clash at Twickenham on Saturday.
England suffered a heartbreaking 28-25 loss to Wales last weekend and another ‘Pool of Death’ defeat by Australia could see them become the first World Cup hosts to exit the tournament before the knockout stages.
Further complicating matters for England is that gifted centre Jonathan Joseph, who missed the Wales match with a chest injury and whose absence led to a huge revamp of England’s back division, is yet to be passed fit to face Australia.
England have beaten Australia in their last two meetings, both at Twickenham, on the back of a powerful set-piece effort by their forwards which has ended up trumping the work of an impressive Wallaby back division.
“Whoever we decide to select or whoever is fit, we have total belief we can go and score tries against teams,” Catt said.
“Australia love an open game, but we are also capable of scoring tries.”
Catt, a member of the England squad that won the 2003 World Cup by beating Australia in the final in Sydney, is well aware of the threat posed behind the Wallaby scrum from Will Genia and Bernard Foley, Matt Giteau and Israel Folau.
“They are exceptionally talented,” said former utility back Catt.
“They are very, very good when you give them time and space and let them have the front foot ball from their pack of forwards. So they are very dangerous so it’s trying to nullify those aspects.
“It’s also about the way you play. We have to make sure they don’t get the ball as much as they normally do to create what they can create.”
Australia’s pack played a key role in helping them win this year’s Rugby Championship something that didn’t go unnoticed by the England coaching staff.
“Australia have come on leaps and bounds with their scrum and set-piece. They are a massively dangerous side,” Catt said.