England aim to prey on the 'demons' in the minds of Australia's forwards on Sunday after smashing the Wallabies' pack in their last Twickenham encounter.

Stuart Lancaster's side will be under extreme pressure going into their next Pool A fixture, knowing that defeat would almost certainly ensure a disastrous pool-stage exit from their home World Cup.

However, they are confident of gaining the ascendancy up front and reviving grim memories for their rivals.

At the end of their autumn campaign last year, England pounded Australia into submission with a victory founded on pack power, especially at the scrum.


Ben Morgan was man of the match that day with a superb, two-try contribution and the Gloucester No 8 believes the national team can unsettle the Wallabies again, having regained set-piece momentum in their match against Wales.

Michael Cheika, the visitors' head coach, has made scrum improvements a priority this year and that process has been expertly over-seen by former Argentina hooker, Mario Ledesma.

Yet, Morgan still sees potential for English dominance in this key contact area.

"They have certainly improved," he said. "But we are confident going into it. Our set-piece in particular was good and I believe Australia will definitely be concerned after reviewing our game against Wales. We offer a lot in that area and that's somewhere we'll be going at them again.

"It is such a confrontational part of the game. It's an all-eight battle but there are also a lot of one-on-one battles going on in there, and when you have been on the wrong end of it, they will definitely have some doubts in their mind, despite the fact they've had some fix-ups."

Asked if England will put considerable onus on setting a powerful, positive tone in the first scrum on Sunday morning (NZT), Morgan added: "Yes, obviously you want to go in there strong, put a statement down early and allow those demons to grow."

Aggressive intent won't be limited to the scrum. England's forwards will set out to negate the Wallabies' breakdown threat, led by the predatory back-row pair of David Pocock and Michael Hooper, by smashing them out of rucks.

"Pocock and Hooper are great over the ball, which means we have to focus extra hard there and work harder at preventing them from being successful - trying to take away their strength," said Morgan. "If we can nullify their ability to get over the ball it will change the way they play. They like to disrupt and slow people down. But if we can get quick ball, it will pose a different threat to them.

"It's got to be calculated, but at the same time you've got to clear people out, and let them know you are clearing them out. You can't go in tickling them, you have to go in there with some force."

During their defeat against Wales last weekend, England's apparent advantage in the scrum earned them penalties, but they were heavily penalised by referee Jerome Garces for ruck infringements and the repeat offending ultimately proved fatal. Morgan hopes that this Saturday, England can avoid antagonising another French official, Romain Poite.

"The referee is going to be key but more importantly, it's about us," he said. "If we are able to play like I know we can, then the referee is not going to come into matters a whole lot. What we want is a situation where the referee doesn't have too many decisions to make - that the ball is there to play and we're going for it the right way. We want to play quick and get over the gain-line."

Pre-match perceptions would suggest English scrum dominance offset by Australian breakdown command. Morgan suggested that Poite may have such thoughts in the back of his mind, adding: "They're human. If the referee keeps seeing pictures or reading press that says this scrum is very good or that side does something else, then, yes, they will have that perception. We can't let him see that picture. At the ruck we have to clear and pass - don't let them get on the ball."

It is impossible to overstate how much is riding on this game, for England. If Wales beat Fiji this afternoon, there is no more room for manoeuvre - Lancaster's side will be out of the tournament if they lose to the Wallabies. It is shaping up as an occasion of colossal significance and tension for the hosts, but Morgan insists they will thrive in those trying circumstances.

"I think pressure is great," he said. "To start with we've had to pull in tighter as a group and you have to re-focus very quickly in this competition. We've focused on what we need to do against Australia, drawn a line under last weekend and moved on.

"We have no other option than to get on with the job as a group. We have to do our jobs and go for it full steam ahead. The feeling in the group is that everyone's excited at the prospect of getting back out on the pitch after last Saturday."

Morgan will be back on duty at No 8 after missing the Wales game with a knee injury. He will hope that this clash with Australia goes as well - on a personal and collective level - as the last one.

If England can resurrect those Wallaby demons, they can go a long way to keeping their campaign alive.

-Daily Mail