Stuart Lancaster looks upon Argentina’s victory over Grand Slam champions Wales as a warning to England about the power of the southern hemisphere.
The Pumas finished last in the inaugural Rugby Championship – behind England’s forthcoming opponents New Zealand, Australia and South Africa – but they dispatched Wales 26-12 at the Millennium Stadium.
England meet the Wallabies first, having opened their QBE autumn international campaign at Twickenham with a 54-12 victory over Fiji.
Although Australia were thumped 33-6 by France on Saturday night, they are expected to have captain David Pocock, wing Digby Ioane and prop Ben Alexander back in their ranks for the trip to London.
And Lancaster is acutely aware the Wallabies drew 18-18 with world champions New Zealand before departing for England.
“We recognise the strength of Australia,” said former Leeds director of rugby Lancaster.
“They pushed the All Blacks to 18-18, they are a good side. The intensity of the game and the speed of the decision-making is going to be reduced.
“We have to train at a higher intensity this week and keep putting the players under pressure so we are ready for what comes on Saturday.
“They will be very motivated coming here and we need to make sure that we are ready for them.
“We have to make sure we compete and perform to our highest level next week.”
England scored seven tries against Fiji, with Charlie Sharples bagging his first two in Test rugby and Manu Tuilagi also touching down twice.
Ugo Monye and Tom Johnson added their names to the scoresheet and England’s dominant pack earned a penalty try from referee Glen Jackson.
But the mood after the match was not one of elation.
England had to defend for the first 20 minutes and, in attack, their execution was not as sharp as it perhaps could and should have been.
It was hard to argue with the sentiment that the All Blacks would have scored at least 80 points in the same situation against similar opposition.
“You only had to look at the players in the changing room to know that they will make sure they remain grounded,” added Lancaster.
“They were quietly pleased with the performance but they were not shouting from the rooftops. We recognise the challenges ahead and we will have to up our game to win next week.”
Lancaster hopes to have prop Alex Corbisiero and centre Jonathan Joseph fit to face the Wallabies, while Chris Ashton is available once again after suspension.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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