England v Australia: Wallabies hit back at ‘clever’ Woodward and ‘vain’ Cipriani

Michael Cheika: Australia coach looking relaxed at Twickenham yesterday.
Michael Cheika: Australia coach looking relaxed at Twickenham yesterday.
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Adam Ashley-Cooper has responded to Danny Cipriani’s claim that not a single Australian would be good enough for England’s team by mocking the fly-half’s vanity.

Cipriani invited attention on to Stuart Lancaster’s men on the eve of their critical showdown with the Wallabies, a match that will determine whether the hosts survive in their own World Cup.

“Not one Australian would get into that England team right now,” said Cipriani, who was part of Lancaster’s training squad for the tournament before being jettisoned at the final round of cuts.

Ashley-Cooper, who starts on the right wing at Twickenham, has reacted by declaring Cipriani would not be considered by the Wallabies.

“It’s just nice that Danny is talking about someone other than himself,” said Ashley-Cooper.

“He’s a good bloke and I enjoy his selfies a lot. He can say what he likes, he wouldn’t ever be a part of our team.”

Australia have also come under fire from England’s World Cup-winning mastermind Sir Clive Woodward, who insisted they are “not the brightest team”. Wallaby coach Michael Cheika laughed off the barb.

Woodward said: “It is not a case of playing random running rugby against Australia, it’s all about attacking cleverly and with purpose. It’s about never letting them off the hook.

“If you can keep hold of the ball and run through the phases, always moving forwards, Australia will disintegrate. Do the opposite of what they expect, move the ball quickly from the scrum, take quick line-outs, tap and go.

“Contrary to popular belief, they are not the brightest team, they give away penalties and pick up yellow cards when they are stretched.

“Playing at pace also applies to the scoreboard, keep it ticking. Just always score next. Target five tries and if they want to give us penalties in the process, take them too.”

Cheika’s response to which was: “Mr Woodward’s right. I only got 300 out of 500 in my high school certificate.

“My mother wasn’t happy with the results either, I can assure you. She begged me to study harder and somehow I got through, I don’t know how. Fluked it, I suppose.

“Sometimes it’s not intelligence but emotional intelligence that helps in this game. It’s not the IQ, it’s the EQ. So hopefully we’ve got a bit of EQ amongst us. We’re doing our best for our country. I understand it’s all a bit of fun and games, a bit of a snipe here and a snipe there, so I’m pretty comfortable with all that stuff.”

Australia conducted their captain’s run at Twickenham to the sound of ACDC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ playing on the stadium speakers.

“I’m not sure how the song came about. One of the coaches, Stephen Larkham, who’s a slightly random type of fellow, just decided to turn it on at training one day earlier this week,” added Cheika.

“I didn’t know much about it, I had to ask him about the song, it wouldn’t always be my style of music, but I’ve come to love it now.

“It’s just a bit of fun, it gets the players having a bit of a laugh. We want to enjoy our time playing the game.”