England focus exceptional – Rowntree

Date published: October 3 2015

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England forwards coach Graham Rowntree believes his side has "hardened mentally" after their narrow loss to Wales as they prepare to tackle Australia.

Stuart Lancaster's men face the Wallabies in what is a must-win game following that 28-25 defeat and Rowntree insists they are ready for the challenge.

"It's almost hardened us even more," he said after Friday's captain's run.

"It was always going to be a big game, but because of last week the lads have really hardened mentally and the focus in training has been exceptional.

Ahead of the mouth-watering match at Twickenham, Rowntree admits he has taken comfort from the fact they have been in this situation before.

"We lost to South Africa in frustrating circumstances, after clawing ourselves back into the game. We had Australia the next week as well," he added.

"We have called upon those experiences – because you have to call upon those experiences – and we've spoke about those occasions a lot this week."

Australia have already beaten Fiji and Uruguay at this World Cup, playing two different teams in those games, which means their first XV will be fresh for Saturday's match.

Rowntree continued by recognising the Wallabies' quality, but insisted that his side would give everything to the ultimate goal of overcoming them at Twickenham.

"They are an exceptional team, a great footballing team and one of the best in the world. We can be that as well," he said.

"It's about our basics functioning accurately. It's about getting our young, exciting players – especially our backline – into the game, giving them an appropriate amount of good ball so they can challenge teams.

"There will be occasions when we look to challenge them in other ways through our forward pack but I want to see us testing them all around the field and playing quick."

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