Wallabies must throw the first punches, says Horan

Australia are underdogs against England and we like that.

England are a pretty complete team when they play at Twickenham. My only concern is whether they have that same drive away from home.

The Wallabies will have to throw the first two punches – they can’t wait for England to throw theirs first.

They must take the game to England in the first 10 to 15 minutes, especially as England have not had a decent side at them for a while, probably since playing those two warm-up Tests against Wales. If Australia are ahead at half-time, they will be very hard to beat.

I really respect England, they are a wonderful team. They should get into or close to the final if Manu Tuilagi stays fit. He’s the most important player for them. And I like Ford-Farrell at 10 and 12. George Ford has a real ability to read the game, and if he does get caught with the ball there is someone else at first receiver who can continue the game. Eddie Jones, the England coach, likes that.

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Australia’s Isi Naisarani runs at the Georgian defence during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa between Australia and Georgia. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

During the 2013 Lions tour, I invited Brian O’Driscoll to come to dinner in Brisbane. I thought it would nice for him to have a home-cooked dinner rather than the hotel buffet and said, "Why don’t you bring a young player who can experience getting out of the hotel?"

He brought a 22-year-old Owen Farrell with him. He was pretty quiet! But you could see how determined he was. He’s not a Dan Carter or a Jonny Wilkinson, but he is a very measured, mistake-free player which is what you need in World Cups.

In my three World Cups, the most important match was the quarter-final. It’s a new competition after the pool stage. Semi-finals and finals look after themselves.

I only lost to England once, in the 1995 quarter-final. The embarrassment of seeing 2,000 Aussie fans waiting to get on planes because we’d been knocked out was awful.

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England’s Owen Farrell during a training session at Beppu, Japan. Photo: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

This Australia team have been treading water. But I have belief in how they’re going to play. They’ve got one half in them. They had one good half against Wales when they came back, but gave them too much of a start. There’s a good game in them and they need to pull it out now.

We won’t beat England if we try to bash them. We’ve got to be skilful, play quick-paced, fitter rugby and get offloads away. That’s a risk, but Michael Cheika won’t want them to kick it away.

The Wallabies have fight in them. Eddie knows they’re coming. It’s just whether the players do.

Daily Mail

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