Coach Stuart talks up fiery Test opening - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coach Stuart talks up fiery Test opening

By Steve Jancetic 30/10/2008 08:00:43 PM Comments (0)

Australian coach Ricky Stuart says he expects England to try to bash the Kangaroos out of Sunday's World Cup clash - with former Sydney Roosters firebrand Adrian Morley leading the fight for the Lions.

Talking up the prospect of "a traditional Test match", Stuart said England would offer a greater physical challenge to his side than the timid display from New Zealand's forwards in last week's tournament opener.

And he claimed Morley would be the one leading the charge, Stuart clearly of the opinion that England coach Tony Smith could promote the veteran prop into his starting line-up to take charge of the early exchanges after Morley was named Wednesday to start from the bench.

"I think you'll find with the English team it will be a traditional Test match ... their forwards, they have the experience," Stuart said in Melbourne on Thursday.

"Adrian Morley for example - his passion and commitment towards his jumper and his confrontational type of football I think will be spread right throughout the team.

"I think Tony Smith will encourage a confrontational Test match, a traditional Test match where there's a big tough start to the game. "That's the way we'll be preparing and I think you'll find it will be a very physical game." Stuart knows all about Morley's ability to take over a contest with his aggression - the Kangaroos coach having harnessed the Englishman's skills to great effect during their time together at the Roosters from 2002-06.

But Morley's uncompromising style of footy has also landed him in hot water with officialdom, most notably in 2003 when he get sent off after just 12 seconds - still a record for the fastest Test dismissal - for a high tackle on Australian prop Robbie Kearns.

Stuart's expectation of a brutal contest won't do much to aid Johnathan Thurston's chances of playing, Australia's man of the match from the win over New Zealand yet to do contact work because of a shoulder injury.

Halves partner and Australian skipper Darren Lockyer admitted he was still in the dark as to Thurston's chances of playing, with Gold Coast skipper Scott Prince remaining on standby.

"He's trained with us okay but he hasn't done the contact work," Lockyer said.

"Until he does that it's hard to make a call." As to the chances of England turning on the grunt, Lockyer said it was the norm now for sides to try and test out the Kangaroos physically.

"Every time I've played England it's always been physical," he said.

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