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Geoff Parling says World Cup final has come early ahead of Australia game

Published 30/09/2015

Geoff Parling believes the World Cup final has come early for England ahead of Saturday's crucial game against Australia
Geoff Parling believes the World Cup final has come early for England ahead of Saturday's crucial game against Australia

Geoff Parling insists England's World Cup final has arrived four weeks early as the hosts draw on the British and Irish Lions' most recent tour as inspiration for their do-or-die clash with Australia.

Only victory against the Wallabies will be sufficient to save the tournament for Stuart Lancaster's men after a 28-25 defeat by Wales on Saturday placed them on the brink of an unthinkable group exit.

England would become the first single host nation to fail to reach the knockout stage if Twickenham is stormed for a second consecutive weekend, but Parling knows from his experience with the Lions two years ago how to deliver success when the stakes are at their highest.

"Our World Cup final has come a little earlier and it's a massive game against Australia. The hunger is unbelievable," Parling said.

"We have been working towards this World Cup for a long time and know we threw away an opportunity against Wales and don't want to repeat that. This is the game of our lives.

"This is everything to me and the other players. We want the nation to back us because we are doing everything we can to give the best account of ourselves and I am sure we will.

"I'm not nervous, but it reminds me of a similar feeling after the second Test for the Lions against Australia when we had a big opportunity to win the series that was missed.

"You feel your world has almost ended, but you pick yourself up and have another crack and we did a really good job by winning the third Test.

"We have another crack this weekend and we have to bottle up all the hurt and frustration after Saturday and use it this weekend."

England twice led by 10 points in the second half only to allow Wales back into the match by conceding a raft of breakdown penalties that Dan Biggar sent between the uprights and blundering in defence for Gareth Davies' try.

Parling bristles at Warren Gatland's suggestion Wales wanted it more, but accepts a more ruthless streak is required if the World Cup is to be rescued.

"Gatland is definitely not right. I couldn't disagree with him more given the hurt we were feeling after the game. That is wrong," Parling said.

"Rather than seeing games out, it is about putting our feet on other the opposition's throat and keeping them down. We need to finish sides off."

Jonathan Joseph is set to be recalled at outside centre when England name their team on Thursday morning, providing there are no late setbacks in his recovery from a chest injury.

Owen Farrell is likely to be retained at fly-half with Brad Barritt moving to inside centre, while Ben Youngs is a doubt at scrum-half because of an ankle problem.

Billy Vunipola has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup with a knee strain, so Ben Morgan is restored at number eight after completing his comeback from a minor knee issue.

An injury to the same joint is set to see Courtney Lawes miss the Australia showdown with Joe Launchbury filling the vacancy in the starting XV.

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