England can match Wallaby attack

Mike Catt (File)
Mike Catt (File)

Bagshot - Mike Catt has insisted England's backs can equal Australia's attacking threat when they face the Wallabies in a make-or-break World Cup clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

England suffered a heart-breaking 28-25 loss to Wales last weekend and another 'Pool of Death' defeat by Australia could see them become the first World Cup hosts to exit the tournament before the knockout stages.

Further complicating matters for England is that gifted centre Jonathan Joseph, who missed the Wales match with a chest injury and whose absence led to a huge revamp of England's back division, is still to be passed fit to face Australia.

England have beaten Australia in their last two meetings, both at Twickenham, on the back of a powerful set-piece effort by their forwards which has ended up trumping the work of an impressive Wallaby back division.

But Catt, England's attacking skills coach, told reporters on Tuesday: "Whoever we decide to select or whoever is fit, we have total belief we can go and score tries against teams.

"Australia love an open game, but we are also capable of scoring tries."

Catt, a member of the England squad that won the 2003 World Cup by beating Australia in the final in Sydney, was well aware of the threat posed behind the Wallaby scrum by the likes of half-backs Will Genia and Bernard Foley, centre Matt Giteau and dynamic full-back Israel Folau.

"They are exceptionally talented," said former utility back Catt.

"They are very, very good when you give them time and space and let them have the front foot ball from their pack of forwards. So they are very dangerous so it's trying to nullify those aspects.

"It's also about the way you play. We have to make sure they don't get the ball as much as they normally do to create what they can create."

And with Australia's pack playing a key role in helping them win this year's southern hemisphere Rugby Championship, Catt added: "Australia have come on leaps and bounds with their scrum and set-piece. They are a massively dangerous side."

England scored just one try against Wales but managed seven in one match alone during this year's Six Nations, although their final day 55-35 win over France was not enough to take the title away from Ireland on points difference.

"Let's not take away from what we've achieved in the Six Nations and how capable we are of scoring tries," said Catt.

"There's a massive belief that we'll go out and play. That belief has been there for the last three of four months.

"I'm massively excited about how the game is going to turn out."

As for Joseph who in the 10 minutes of England 'open' training later Tuesday was kept off the practice ground at England's Penyhill Park base in Bagshot and away from the prying eyes of the media, Catt said: "Jonathan walked through this morning with us and is due to train this afternoon.

"We'll see if he plays a full part."

Meanwhile, No 8 Ben Morgan is fit to face Australia following a knee problem, but scrumhalf Ben Youngs and lock Courtney Lawes may not recover in time from their respective ankle and knee injuries.

England are due to name their team on Thursday.

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