Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Foden: Victory made a statement

Ben Foden

Ben Foden believes England fired a World Cup warning with Saturday's 35-18 demolition of Australia at Twickenham.

England bounced back from the frustration of a 26-16 defeat to New Zealand by storming to a record victory over the Wallabies. Chris Ashton scored two brilliant tries, including one which started from behind England's own try-line, and Toby Flood kicked 25 points in a faultless display.

England could meet the Wallabies in the semi-finals of next year's World Cup and Foden said: "The southern hemisphere teams have to take us seriously. That was our main aim to put ourselves up there and make sure we're competing with the big boys. That's what we've gone out to do. We've put down a marker now."

He added: "Australia beat New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, we gave the All Blacks a good run for their money and they know we're a threat. Australia will certainly be thinking about us come World Cup time."

England had never before put more than 32 points on Australia and Saturday's victory margin equalled their biggest ever against the Wallabies. And for the first time since the 2003 World Cup final England have completed back-to-back victories over Australia.

But Martin Johnson's message to his players was loud and clear after the game - this is only the beginning.

England tackle the physical Samoans next weekend and then round off their Investec campaign against South Africa, who have battled to narrow tour victories over Ireland and Wales.

"It was a pretty convincing win and we can be pretty happy with the sort of rugby we played," said Foden. "Obviously this is a massive plus but we'll go back to work next week and look at ways to improve.

"We just need to keep on working because we're by no means the finished article. If we'd played poorly and lost this game then a lot of the hard work we'd done over the summer towards the back of the Six Nations would have been undone.

"We're all building to the World Cup, and we've got a good squad now of 32 players who are all pushing each other so we can hit the ground running when the World Cup arrives."