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England talking points ahead of World Cup match against Australia

Published 02/10/2015

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England will attempt to save their World Cup when they face Australia at Twickenham. Here Press Association Sport's England Rugby Correspondent Duncan Bech examines five talking points heading into the match.

RAMIFICATIONS OF DEFEAT FOR ENGLAND

Exiting the World Cup at the group stage is an unthinkable prospect for a team and union that has staked so much on delivering on home soil. The futures of head coach Stuart Lancaster and his lieutenants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt would be placed in doubt, as would the position of Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie.

RAMIFICATIONS OF DEFEAT FOR THE WORLD CUP

Disastrous, not in a financial sense as the numbers are guaranteed, but overall interest in the tournament would plummet were the hosts to crash out. The World Cup needs a strong England team to progress deep into the knockout phase to hold the attention of a nation otherwise preoccupied with football. Rugby fans will still revel in the action that has so far unfolded in full, noisy and colourful stadiums, but the crossover appeal would vanish.

HOW WILL ENGLAND COPE UNDER PRESSURE?

A leadership void appeared in the closing stages of the defeat to Wales and while captain Chris Robshaw must shoulder a large portion of the blame, the senior players around him were also culpable. Geoff Parling's call to the front in the botched late line-out was a puzzling decision and England know there can be no late implosion against the winners of this year's Rugby Championship.

AN END TO THE BREAKDOWN BLUES

England suffered at the whistle of Jerome Garces against Wales and their inability to adapt to the French referee's view of the breakdown underpinned the defeat. They must be smarter against Australia, who have selected poachers supreme David Pocock and Michael Hooper in their back row. The Wallabies are among the very best over the ball, so England must be at their very best to outthink and outfight them.

WILL ENGLAND GAIN A FOOTHOLD AT THE SCRUM?

The technique of prop Joe Marler has been questioned by former Australia coach Bob Dwyer - but the complaint is widely viewed as an attempt to cast doubt in mind of referee Romain Poite. Poite is respected for his willingness to reward the stronger set piece and the Red Rose management have faith his judgement in an area which is expected to be a source of English strength, as it was in the same fixture at Twickenham 11 months ago.

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