Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Lancaster: England in confident mood

Stuart Lancaster is hoping England can continue their momentum against Australia

Stuart Lancaster insists there is no fear factor in the England set-up as they prepare to welcome Australia, South Africa and New Zealand to Twickenham.

In fact, it is quite the opposite with England in confident mood they can inflict further misery on the Wallabies in Saturday's QBE autumn international. Lancaster has stressed to his men they need to be "on their mettle" to deal with an Australia side on the rebound from their 33-6 pummelling in France.

But in the minds of the England players the southern hemisphere giants do not arrive in London with an aura of invincibility about them. "We took on South Africa in their own back yard in the summer," Lancaster said.

"While we didn't win we should have won the third Test and that gave players tremendous self-belief and confidence that we can go toe-to-toe with them. We have a long way to go in these three games. The players have an inner belief that is building and the performances in South Africa certainly helped.

"I get no sense we are lacking self-confidence going into the game but equally we are not overly confident. It will be a full-on Test match. Australia will be bouncing back from France and wanting to put it straight. We will need to be on our mettle."

England are vying for a third consecutive victory over the Wallabies for the first time since their 2003 Rugby World Cup final triumph.

Lancaster defended England's decision to wear a "regal purple" change kit for Saturday's match.

As part of their commercial contract with Canterbury, England will don an alternate strip which bears a striking resemblance to Arsenal's redcurrant centenary kit.

Lancaster has built a culture in the England squad based on a pride and respect in the jersey but he also understands the commercial realities of professional rugby.

"We all recognise as international coaches there is always going to be a change strip," Lancaster said. "The players respect the fact it has the England rose on. They want to play for that and for each other, that is what matters to them."

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