England No.8 Ben Morgan insists England must summon Australia’s demons by using their pack to reopen old wounds at Twickenham on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).
The rivals clash in a heavyweight Pool A showdown that will either rescue England’s World Cup from oblivion or condemn them to becoming the first host nation to exit the tournament at the group phase.
The Red Rose have prevailed in four of their previous five meetings, including the past two at Twickenham, the most recent of which saw Australia’s forwards pulverised at the scrum in the 26-17 loss.
“Absolutely a pack can suffer from past demons at a particular ground,” Morgan said.
“The forwards are such a confrontational part of the game – particularly scrum-time, it’s like an all-eight battle – and when you are on the wrong end of it … they’ll definitely have some doubts in their mind.
“Obviously you want to go in there strong, put a statement down early and allow those demons to grow.
“Our set-piece in particular was good against Wales and I believe Australia will definitely be concerned after reviewing that game.
“Our aggression has got to be calculated, but at the same time you’ve got to clear people out and let them know you are clearing them out.
“You can’t go in tickling them, you have to go in there with some force.”
Morgan will be restored to the back row when head coach Stuart Lancaster names his team on Thursday morning having recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss the 28-25 defeat by Wales.
England suffered at the breakdown against Wales, the whistle of referee Jerome Garces enabling Warren Gatland’s underdogs to transform a 10-point deficit into a famous victory.
The breakdown threat will originate from a different source on Saturday, however, with fetchers supreme David Pocock and Michael Hooper present in the Wallabies back row.
“Pocock and Hooper are great over the ball, which definitely means we have to focus extra hard there and work harder at preventing them from being successful, trying to take away their strength,” Morgan said.
“If we can nullify their ability to get over the ball it will change the way the team has to play. They like to disrupt and slow people down. But if we can get quick ball, it will change the pattern as well.”