Key clashes

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport: Rugby World Cup 2015 -


Matt Giteau v Brad Bar­ritt

Giteau is highly in­flu­en­tial and has a great left-footed kick­ing game, which Aus­tralia use to come out of their half. If you give him scope, Giteau can do some dam­age but that is why Bar­ritt is there, back where he is most com­fort­able at in­side cen­tre. Bar­ritt has to have the best de­fen­sive game of his en­tire ca­reer if Eng­land are to have real prospects. He has got to keep the line tight and to­gether. He is there to nul­lify the Wal­laby at­tack. Bar­ritt has got to be the mas­ter of the chaos, able to re­or­gan­ise ev­ery­one quickly and ac­cu­rately.

2 Is­rael Fo­lau v Mike Brown

What an aerial bat­tle of the full-backs this prom­ises to be, two great ath­letes soar­ing up­wards look­ing to claim that ball. If ei­ther side kicks loosely, they will be in trou­ble. Brown is bril­liant at beat­ing the first de­fender – and once he does that, he needs to be aware of his wings and re­lease the ball. Eng­land have to be cute in de­fend­ing Fo­lau be­cause he tends to beat the first guy with foot­work so they need to have the sec­ond de­fender straight in there. They must not back off Fo­lau com­pletely but they do have to be ac­cu­rate.

3 David Po­cock v Ben Mor­gan

Two No 8s, two dif­fer­ent styles of play, two po­ten­tially very in­flu­en­tial fig­ures. Po­cock is world class at the break­down. He is quick and with such a huge chest and up­per body, so dif­fi­cult to shift over the ball. Po­cock is also car­ry­ing re­ally well these days, and is a mas­ter of tuck­ing in at the back of a driv­ing maul. But Mor­gan can have just as big an im­pact on a game, as he showed last Novem­ber against Aus­tralia when scor­ing two tries. Eng­land need to see Mor­gan at full lick, for him to use the pickup speed he has got.

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