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England test excites Ashley-Cooper

Australia winger Adam Ashley-Cooper believes Saturday's QBE International against England will give the Wallabies a strong taste of what is to come at the World Cup next year.

Australia take on Stuart Lancaster's side at Twickenham, knowing the victors could take a significant psychological advantage ahead of the teams' Pool A match-up at the same venue next October.

England and Australia will also have to battle it out with Wales, Fiji and Uruguay for qualification to the knock-out stages.

"It's a tough pool and you can certainly treat Saturday's match as a warm-up game for that World Cup match," Ashley-Cooper said.

"The reality is that's seven or eight months away, but we do have England at Twickenham in the World Cup so this gives us a really good understanding of what it's going to be like.

"I think everyone is really excited by that."

Australia have enjoyed an encouraging autumn campaign that has seen Michael Cheika's new-look side beat Wales at the Millennium Stadium before suffering narrow defeats to France and Ireland.

Ashley-Cooper insists a victory over England, who picked up a morale-boosting win against Samoa on Saturday, would send the squad away in positive spirits ahead of next year's World Cup.

"It's the last game of our year and it's really important we finish on a good note before we pick up together again prior to a rugby World Cup," he said.

"We always look forward to playing at Twickenham, it brings a lot of excitement, the atmosphere is one of the best in the world so we're looking forward to that.

"And off the back of two disappointing weeks, we certainly want to respond and we'll be looking to do that."

England denied Australia a clean-sweep of autumn victories last year as Lancaster's side won 20-13 thanks to a late, controversial, try from Owen Farrell.

"I do remember that," Ashley-Cooper said.

"I had to have a couple of stitches - that was a hard and physical encounter like they always have been when I've been here.

"They've always come down to five or seven points and that game was no different.

"There were a couple of decisions at the end that didn't go our way but that's life.

"I always enjoy playing the English here at Twickenham. Hopefully we can prepare well and go out there and finish the season on a high."


From Belfast Telegraph