LONDON (Reuters) - Not one Australia player would get into the England team at the moment and the hosts should have more than enough power to win the pivotal Rugby World Cup Pool A game at Twickenham, England flyhalf Danny Cipriani said on Friday.
England, who lost to 28-25 Wales last week, must beat the Wallabies to reach the quarter-finals and Cipriani, who narrowly missed out on a place in the squad, is confident they will do so.
“England’s players know what they can do, and they only just touched the tip of the iceberg against Wales,” Cipriani said.
“They didn’t quite put the nail in the coffin, but if it all clicks together on Saturday, Australia won’t have an answer.
“Not one Australian would get into that England team right now. The Aussies will be fired up, but when it comes down to it, head-to-head England are too strong.”
Most rugby observers would suggest that Australia fullback Israel Folau and flanker David Pocock, among others, would walk into the England side.
But Cipriani, who had an unsuccessful stint in Australia with Super Rugby side the Melbourne Rebels in 2011-12, is expecting a home victory on Saturday that would put England firmly back on track in the tournament.
“England’s defensive structure combined with the attacking weapons they have at their disposal make it hard to see past an England win,” Cipriani said.
Cipriani defended England captain Chris Robshaw’s decision not to kick a last-gasp penalty that could have earned them a draw against Wales.
“If England had kicked for the corner against Wales at Twickenham and got a try, Chris Robshaw would be called ‘inspirational’ on all the back pages,” said Cipriani, an ambassador for Paddy Power.
“If England had kicked it over and taken a draw, no doubt people would have criticised them for not going to the corner.
“Everyone can sit back at home and make a judgement after the event. That’s easy. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
“Robshaw went with his gut, he trusted his instinct and it almost paid off. The decision was challenging, brave and it has to be admired.”
Reporting by Ed Osmond