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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 13:35 UK

Jeremy Guscott column

Australia fly-half Quade Cooper
Quade Cooper scored Australia's second try in the first Test last weekend

England take on Australia in the final Test of their summer tour on Saturday looking to avoid a 2-0 series defeat.

The tourists have not beaten one of the three major southern hemisphere teams since the World Cup in 2007, a run of nine games.

England were close to causing an upset last weekend but, despite dominating the scrum, they struggled to penetrate the Australian line and went down to a 27-17 defeat.

Here, former England and British & Irish Lions centre Jeremy Guscott looks at what Martin Johnson's men must do in Sydney on Saturday if they are to level the series.


England could have won the first Test but if they had, it would have papered over the cracks again.

They did not build on their dominant scrum and England went back to old habits where the ball was slow.

I understand that winning is important - it breeds confidence - but I don't want to see one-dimensional performances from the players.

What really frustrates me about England is that they look clueless. You watch New Zealand, South Africa and South Africa, even France to a certain degree, and there's a momentum to their play.

If they hit a brick wall they kick and they chase it very well. They get out of their own half.

They try not to put pressure on one another by giving the wrong ball and making the wrong decisions.

For me the difference this week has to be if England kick, the chase has to be better, they have to make their first-up tackles and they can't play with static ball.

At the breakdown, I don't want to see the scrum-half digging the ball out and passing the ball three yards to three forwards who then get smashed by an Australian defence who are ready to cream them. It's too predictable.


Northampton's Courtney Lawes has come into the second row - one would think to add some dynamism and to get that momentum off which the rest of the guys can play.

England second row Courtney Lawes
Lawes will partner Tom Palmer in the second row

He brings athleticism and raw aggression.

To be honest I am not overly convinced by Lawes, he is still somewhere between a second row and a blind-side flanker. He's not as bulky as Simon Shaw but he's not quite as light as Tom Croft.

He is finding his way. There is so much potential there and I would like to see a bit more aggression. Is he this explosive runner, is he the player that everybody has been talking about this season?

One of the main things England have to do on Saturday is to compete with Australia at the breakdown and stop their open-side flanker David Pocock dominating that area.

The only way they are going to do that is if they play with a tempo that the Wallabies back-row find difficult to live with. If it's static you just bring them into the game.


Leicester's Ben Youngs is named at scrum-half and he is going to learn so much against opposite number Will Genia. I'm pleased he is in the team as I can't fault him at the moment.

England and Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs
Youngs will make his first England start in Sydney

A couple of games I've watched there have been some nerves but you would expect a young man to have some nervous moments.

Everyone makes mistakes, it's how many times they repeat that mistake which makes the difference.

Youngs does what I love any scrum-half to do, he just gets there and gets rid of the ball.

With the scrum-half role, you distribute and organise, and Youngs does the job. He does it really well.

This guy is going to be around for a long time until the guy he replaced, Danny Care, decides that he's going to do what a scrum-half should do.

I think the England management have run out of patience with Care, he's been given enough opportunities - he can still be a fantastic player but I just don't think he is listening.

The only thing I don't like England doing with their scrum-halves at the moment is that any line-out ball won in their own half they box-kick it away. I don't understand that tactic.


Matt Giteau is back in the Australian midfield and he will really test the defence and the understanding of England's Shontayne Hape, who lines up opposite him.

Australia centre Matt Giteau
Giteau is regarded as one of the best players in the world

It will be a mark of how far the former rugby league man has come in union. I am a fan of Hape's but he is not the finished article.

This will be a steep learning curve for him and he will certainly find out in this match, against the class of Giteau and fly-half Quade Cooper, if he is up to the task.

England's defensive line is pretty solid. I don't have too many concerns as long as fly-half Toby Flood and the centre pairing of Hape and Mike Tindall keep their defensive shape.

If they don't do that they will be torn apart because Giteau is a wizard, he is a genius, while Cooper is unbelievable at the moment.


One way England can get through the Australian defence is by simply taking it to them.

Cooper and Giteau are not the biggest guys. They will tackle but if Hape or Tindall come up against Giteau, you would bet your life that they will get over the gain-line.

England have just got to be simple, direct and send Tindall and Hape into that Cooper and Giteau channel.

They will easily get over the gain-line and from there you have Flood pulling the strings with full-back Ben Foden and the wings of Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton ready to pounce.

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