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RWC 2015 - England Skills Coach Mike Catt talks Australia

By Ben Sportsbeat
September 29 2015

ENGLAND must ignore the waves of criticism crashing at their door and focus on nullifying a dangerous Australian side on Saturday, says backs coach Mike Catt.  The Red Rose head into this weekend’s clash with Wallabies knowing defeat will almost certainly put an end to their hopes of progressing to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.  That is after last Saturday’s 28-25 defeat to Wales, when a late kick to the corner – instead of levelling things up from the tee – failed to bring a winning score.   Since that game, former England centre Will Carling has led the media scrutiny of Stuart Lancaster’s squad but Catt is happy to turn the other cheek.


“The criticism is pretty much external white noise that is irrelevant to this weekend,” he said. “Our focus is beating Australia.   Like last week, it is a must-win game. We are massively excited by the fact that we have got Australia at Twickenham. It’s going to be an exciting match and everything is on this one game for us.

“If you get concerned about the external effects, you are not in a good place and you lose focus of what your job is. Our job is to beat Australia, not to worry about criticism from ex-players.   “They are exceptionally talented – very, very good when you give them time and space and when you let them have the ball, get on the front foot and their pack of forwards is very dangerous.  

“It’s about trying to nullify those aspects but it’s also the way you play and making sure they don’t get the ball as much as they normally do for them to go and create what they can create.”

Injuries are causing headaches for the England coaches ahead of Thursday’s team announcement, with Courtney Lawes, Ben Youngs and Jonathan Joseph all fighting to prove their fitness.

Billy Vunipola, however, has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup but Catt expects his replacement – 37-year-old No.8 Nick Easter – to have a significant impact on the squad.

“I’m massively disappointed for Billy Vunipola,” he added. “He has put in three months of hard graft and to end it like this is not nice but he has obviously got two or three World Cups left in him.   “Nick has got the experience, he has been there before and he is a specialist eight. He gives us exactly what we want from an eight so it’s pretty much a straight swap.   “He is bouncing from pre-season with Harlequins and he will give us that added lift that some of the boys might need.”

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