George Gregan says Australia must get off to a good start against England
By Graeme Peacock
Last Updated: 18/11/17 1:55pm
Australia's most-capped player George Gregan says the Wallabies are confident they can end their losing streak against England, but must get off to a quick start to silence the Twickenham crowd.
England have a perfect played four, won four record against the Wallabies under Australian coach Eddie Jones, including a 3-0 series win Down Under last year with their most recent meeting in England a 37-21 win at Twickenham in December 2016.
The last time Australia beat England was when they knocked the hosts out of the 2015 World Cup with a 33-13 pool phase victory at Twickenham, however, the Wallabies are now the form team in world rugby.
They head into Saturday's Cook Cup tussle, live on Sky Sports, unbeaten in seven games and on a run of four wins in a row, including a victory over world champions New Zealand, after last weekend's 29-21 defeat of Wales.
And Gregan, who won 139 caps for Australia, believes they have learnt plenty since that loss to England in 2016.
"Last year, Australia started that Test match very well but they made some errors and that England team was very good at turning pressure into points and then grinding it out. They really forced that Wallaby team to chase the game," Gregan told Sky Sports.
"But what I think has happened in the last 12 months is that this Wallaby team have learnt how to play from in front, to come back and have that composure and ability to execute under pressure.
"That is why when they sit in the changing room on Saturday they will think that they can do this - they will aim to start well, you don't want to be playing catch-up rugby at Twickenham. It's not impossible, but it's tough.
"So starting well and imposing a bit of pressure and maybe silencing that England crowd early. That is when you know you are playing well and I think the Wallabies are looking forward to that challenge."
The scrum-half battle between Australia's Will Genia and England's Ben Youngs is one that Gregan is looking forward too, but says their performances will depend on the quality of ball they are given and their playmakers outside of them.
"Both teams are closely matched and it will come down to the wire. The combination of the nine and ten will have a big impact on the Test match," said Gregan.
"Ben Youngs has a very good running game as does Will Genia. Genia is a player that teams will take a look at and say they have to stop his running game, he is playing really well at the moment.
"They are both world class players but it also depends on the quality of ball that is provided - that really helps with your decision making for you nines and the playmakers in your team. That combination that Youngs and Genia have outside of them is going to be critical."
Gregan was also full of praise for the England coach, who he played under with Australia and the Brumbies.
"One thing with Eddie Jones, the team will be really well prepared and will have a really strong mindset how they will play against you. He will have them ready to go.
"He is always looking to create the perfect environment for his players to perform in, he expects people to go in with that attitude that when they turn up to train, that they are always looking to improve.
"He demands that from his players and his coaches. I think his results since taking over at England have really reinforced that."