To prepare for the thunder of Twickenham, the Wallabies have called on Thunderstruck.
Ahead of Saturday night’s (Sunday 0600 AEDT) vital showdown with England at the home of rugby, the Wallabies had their captain’s run on Friday afternoon.
And they drew inspiration from the Australian icons of rock and roll, AC/DC, to help adjust to the thunderous atmosphere they’ll encounter when 82,000 fans pack into Twickenham.
Earlier this week Wallabies coach Michael Cheika spoke of his plans to prepare his side for the wall of sound and how to combat the hostile environment.
At the captain’s run, part of that plan came blaring out of the stadium speakers at full volume – in the form of the Australian rock classic.
“I’m not sure how the song came about. One of the coaches, (backs coach) Stephen Larkham, who’s a slightly random type of fellow, just decided to turn it on at training one day earlier this week,” Cheika said.
“I didn’t know much about it, I had to ask him about the song, it wouldn’t always be my style of music, but I’ve come to love it now.
“It’s just a bit of fun, it gets the players having a bit of a laugh. We want to enjoy our time playing the game.
“We know the pain and how difficult the game’s going to be so we just want to have a bit of fun as well.”
While playing at Twickenham has been singled out as a huge advantage for the home side, so too has the scrum been central to discussions about the outcome of the game.
England remain steadfast in their belief that the Wallabies’ scrum is weak – and will turn to mush on the big stage.
A covert campaign to highlight the questionable scrum tactics of England’s loosehead prop Joe Marler, led by former Wallabies’ World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer, brought laughter from the England camp on Friday.
England forwards coach Graham Rowntree said he had a “positive conversation” with World Rugby referees’ chief Joel Jutge. And he is confident in referee Romain Poite – one of the strictest scrum judges in the game – to make the right calls.
Cheika also sang Poite’s praises, despite the Frenchman coming down hard on Wallabies’ scrums in the past.
“It really will be something we are looking to perform in consistently, be very square, do our best,” Cheika said.
“He’s been in this type of atmopshere many, many times and he’s a very good referee.”
The result of this match means everything to England – and nearly as much to the Wallabies, who can secure passage to the quarter-finals with a win.
Wales’ failure on Thursday to secure a bonus point in their 23-13 win over Fiji – much like the Wallabies in their opening fixture – means Cheika’s men will almost certainly get a second bite at the apple regardless of the outcome against England.
The Wallabies, though, can’t afford a blowout loss.
As it stands, Australia sit on nine competition points – four behind Pool A leaders Wales.
With four points for a win, one dished out for a loss by seven points or fewer and another bonus point on offer for scoring four or more tries, the Wallabies control their own destiny.
Should the Wallabies lose to England by seven points or fewer, they would still progress to the quarter-finals with a victory over Wales – as long as the Welsh don’t pick up two bonus points in defeat.
A heavier loss to England would require the Wallabies to either secure a four-try bonus-point victory or one by greater than seven points against Wales.
England still face certain elimination – and the indignity of being the first World Cup hosts being knocked out in the pool stages – should they lose to Australia.