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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Dwyer expects England to impress
Bob Dwyer
Dwyer says England have cause for optimism ahead of the World Cup
Former Australian coach Bob Dwyer has warned the Wallabies that England can win the two-Test series despite being without several top players.

England take on Australia in Sydney on 11 June and in Melbourne on 17 June minus the likes of Charlie Hodgson, Josh Lewsey and Lawrence Dallaglio.

"It is a good time for England to visit Australia," said Dwyer.

"This England side has a look about it, so I think it will be a good series and they will make a good fist of it."

Dwyer has recent experience of England, having coached the Barbarians in last week's contest at Twickenham.

England won that game 46-19 and Dwyer, who coached Australia to victory in the 1991 World Cup, says the likes of Mathew Tait and Tom Varndell could make their mark on this tour.

Tait has bounced back after being dropped following his Test debut against Wales at the start of 2005 and has shone in the England sevens side.

Australia had about 10 or 12 guys unavailable on that occasion, so they will be stronger this time around

Former Australia coach Bob Dwyer

"Mathew has great balance, great pace and great confidence, and full marks to him to come back from a difficult beginning and fight his way back into the squad," Dwyer added.

"I am sure that experience will make him a better player. It could have been soul-destroying for him, so that shows the kind of courage he's got.

"And I think Varndell is an outstanding prospect. I would be really surprised if he doesn't start for England in the near future."

England face Australia on the back of another disappointing Six Nations, which prompted the Rugby Football Union to revamp the coaching set-up.

Head coach Andy Robinson kept his job but Brian Ashton, John Wells and Mike Ford were all brought in as England start to look at defending their World Cup crown in France next year.

"If you have got something that is not working, then you've got to change it," Dwyer said. "It's not even any real criticism of the people that were there.

"You can't just allow it to continue and not work, but I don't think it is too late for England in the slightest."

England defeated Australia last November in a year that saw the Wallabies lose eight Tests.

Australia appointed former Bath coach John Connolly as their new head coach and Dwyer expects the Wallabies to provide a far sterner test than they did last autumn.

"They had about 10 or 12 guys unavailable on that occasion, so they will be stronger than that this time around.

"Players who didn't tour like Stephen Larkham, Stirling Mortlock and Dan Vickerman, who is probably Australia's best performing lock, will be back, so they will be much better."

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