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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Josh Lewsey's column
Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey
England back and 2003 World Cup winner

When England play Australia in any sport it is always a big occasion and when it is a World Cup, there is added expectation.

Andy Farrell sits out England training on Friday because of his calf strain
Farrell's England World Cup dream may well be over

We go into Saturday's quarter-final without the injured Andy Farrell. It is not ideal to have a late change but we just have to get on with it.

Andy is an experienced guy and adds a fair bit of power and bulk to the midfield.

That is one of the most important areas of the game. If you let a team like Australia get momentum and quick ball, then you are going to struggle.

I know Andy's selection is a very emotive subject back home but for a rugby league great and Man of Steel to be picked in an England World Cup quarter-final team is a superb achievement.

I do feel sorry for him that he is out of the match but if we win at the weekend then hopefully he will have an opportunity to play a further part in the tournament.

In Test rugby, there is not a lot you can do physically to prepare yourself a week before the match.

You do not go all out and bash lumps out of each other because you often take four or five days to get over the games.

When we have a day off I try to get away from rugby. I popped out to try to do a bit of shopping in Marseille but I failed miserably and stopped at a café. Shopping is not my forte.

We are firm underdogs for this match but that does not bother me, in fact, I prefer it.

Nobody expects us to do anything. We were written off before this tournament, written off during it and that is quite a motivating factor.

Australia probably have the most experienced backline in the world and this side have peaked at the right time

People do not think you are going to win and it is quite nice to operate under the radar but now it is England versus Australia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

People are obviously going to start referring back to the triumph of 2003 but as a team we went into this tournament in a very different position from four years ago.

This is a separate game and both teams are starting with a blank sheet of paper. That match will have no bearing on this one.

The last time we played one of the top sides in the world we lost quite embarrassingly and so we have to make sure that does not happen again. There is no point beating around the bush, the South Africa game was a disaster.

Against Samoa we played for 50 minutes and, although individual errors let them back into the match, it was a big step forward from the match against the Springboks.

Tonga was another step forward and at times we started to look quite dangerous and creative as an attacking force.

Now we need to make an equivalent improvement if we are going to have a chance of winning on Saturday.

Australia are a very, very good side and they get the best out of the players they have. Their decision-making axis is very creative and they adapt to what they see in front of them.

Josh Lewsey celebrates with the World Cup after the 2003 final in Sydney
The 2003 final will have no bearing on this match

Around the field they have a pack that can deliver good ball and outside they have some dangerous runners.

They are one of the most enjoyable sides to watch because they vary their game well and keep you thinking.

Australia have a young fly-half by the name of Berrick Barnes and to me he is the epitome of their sporting system.

They are so efficient in bringing through quality players that do not just have potential but are the finished product.

To be able to replace someone like Stephen Larkham so seamlessly is a credit not only to Barnes but also to the system they have in place.

Australia probably have the most experienced backline in the world and this side have peaked at the right time.

To beat them we will need a rock steady defence, good discipline and control of the ball.

We have to be confident. It is 80 minutes of knockout rugby, winner-takes all, that's it.

Form goes out of the window. It is not about what has gone on before, it is all about what happens on the pitch.

I just want to enjoy it and play as well as I can. Hopefully we can give ourselves the best chance of winning.

We have won a few trophies ourselves and we have some fairly experienced guys who have done it on a big stage. I can assure you that we will give it everything.

  • Josh Lewsey was talking to Mark Orlovac



  • SEE ALSO
    England replace Farrell with Catt
    05 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    Zinzan Brooke column
    05 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    Wallabies expect 'dirty' English
    04 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    Josh Lewsey Q&A
    03 Oct 07 |  English
    Josh Lewsey Q&A
    26 Sep 07 |  English
    Josh Lewsey Q&A
    19 Sep 07 |  English
    Josh Lewsey Q&A
    12 Sep 07 |  English
    Josh Lewsey Q&A
    06 Sep 07 |  English
    Josh Lewsey's column
    04 Sep 07 |  English


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