England's back-row key to beating Australia, says Jonny Wilkinson
By Louise Warr
Last Updated: 20/06/16 8:33am
Jonny Wilkinson believes England's back-row were integral in claiming a first ever series victory in Australia.
Wilkinson was reacting to England's 23-7 win in Melbourne as they took an unassailable 2-0 lead with one Test remaining in the series.
The 2003 Rugby World Cup winner told Sky Sports the trio of Chris Robshaw, James Haskell and Billy Vunipola were all influential, but singled out Haskell for his impact in an impressive team display.
"It is a difficult one because there are any number but at the moment I would say the England back-row have probably been stand-out performers," said Wilkinson.
"For me Haskell has been the one I would say has been the most influential, the most inspirational to the team but at the same time I couldn't really justify picking anyone over the rest of the team. It has been quite amazing to watch."
Wilkinson's former team-mate and Sky Sports pundit Will Greenwood joined Wilkinson in praise for the England flanker duo, while also heralding the performances of Owen Farrell in the series so far.
"People are going for James Haskell and rightly so, after an unbelievable defensive effort," said Greenwood. "The sentimental people would certainly doff their cap to Chris Robshaw, who has come back from a hounding during the World Cup as the captain of the side that went out in the group stages.
"I thought he was an absolute rock star.
"There is so many to mention but I'd probably end up going with Owen Farrell as my stand-out performer.
Whether he has a No 10 jersey on his back or a No 12 jersey, Farrell is instrumental when England score tries, instrumental when they kick goals, and instrumental when they make territory.
Will Greenwood on Owen Farrell
"Whether he has a No 10 jersey on his back or a No 12 jersey, Farrell is instrumental when England score tries, instrumental when they kick goals, and instrumental when they make territory.
"More importantly in that first Test he showed his worth to the team by shifting to inside centre, was brilliant in defence and swung the Test match in England's favour to push them to a 1-0 lead."