Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Lancaster wary of wounded Wallabies

Stuart Lancaster is expecting a reaction from Australia following their defeat to France
Stuart Lancaster is expecting a reaction from Australia following their defeat to France

Stuart Lancaster has warned England must be prepared for an Australian backlash in Saturday's Cook Cup showdown.

Hours after England opened their QBE autumn campaign with a 54-12 win against Fiji, the Wallabies crashed to a thumping 33-6 defeat to France in Paris.

"We recognise the challenge that is coming our way. There is bound to be a reaction from the weekend's performance against France - they are a side with character and resilience," said Lancaster. "I am sure if they have got a few players coming back as well they will be a different animal on Saturday. We need to make sure we are ready."

Australia endured a welter of criticism for their performances in the Rugby Championship but responded to that by pushing New Zealand to the brink in Brisbane before departing for Europe.

Lancaster will prepare England to face that side, who drew 18-18 with the All Blacks, rather than the Wallaby outfit that folded in Paris.

"It was only a couple of weeks ago they pushed the All Blacks and we are expecting that type of performance this weekend," Lancaster added. "In this situation there is bound to be a reaction. They are a nation full of resilience in adversity and we need to be ready for it."

Alex Corbisiero and Jonathan Joseph have both returned to the selection mix for England this week after recovering from knee and ankle injuries respectively.

Lancaster and the England coaches will decide on Tuesday whether Corbisiero is ready for Test match action, after only his first start of the season on Sunday.

Corbisiero played 62 minutes for London Irish in their LV= Cup win against Sale Sharks and Lancaster may look to give him another run at club level.

That would leave England with Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola as the loosehead options, with Corbisiero potentially returning to the squad for the tougher scrummaging battle South Africa are likely to pose.

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