Red Roses fretting over Mortlock, Giteau - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Red Roses fretting over Mortlock, Giteau

14/11/2008 11:55:33 AM Comments (0)

England have identified Wallabies "talisman" Stirling Mortlock and playmaking "magician" Matt Giteau as their two greatest concerns heading into Saturday's rugby international at Twickenham.

Confident of matching Australia up front, the English are wary of Australia's attacking potency and believe shutting down the Wallabies backline is the key to another home triumph over their southern hemisphere rivals.

"Australia are smart. They have been in the past. They usually come up with a couple of plays to try and test you out that you have not seen before," defence coach Mike Ford said.

"I don't think they have gone through a game this year without scoring a try. They have 28 tries in 11 games. It will be a major effort to keep them tryless.

"I think our back three will be tested early, but we are confident they can handle anything thrown at them."

England's ability to handle Mortlock and Giteau, though, is what Ford is really fretting about.

"Mortlock is a talisman," he said.

"They will come at that 10-12 channel off set piece and try and dent our defence. He does that as well as anybody in the world and we feel if we can get parity in that area, it will go a long way to stopping Australia.

"Giteau is a magician. He gets the ball in space and some of the offloads he gets away are unbelievable at times.

"With (Berrick) Barnes out, there is a lot of pressure on him to create stuff. He will probably get the ball 90 per cent of the time. If we can control him, we will do well."

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