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England all coy on Wallabies scrum

David Beniuk 10/11/2010 07:09:41 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies scrummaging nemesis Andrew Sheridan fears a repeat of the Australian pack's triumph at Twickenham two years ago.

At least that's the official line.

If England don't rate the Australian scrum and intend to smash it to smithereens on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT), they're certainly not about to say it.

Believe them and you'll believe they are full of respect and they're actually not travelling that well themselves in the set-piece.

It mat be a mouthful of cliches or it just might be a nagging sense of doubt that the Stephen Moore-boosted Wallabies tight five could turn it on like no one expected them to in 2008.

"The last time I played them (in 2008) I didn't play particularly well," Sheridan told reporters at England's plush camp in the Surrey countryside. "Their scrum went well."

"It's always very important not to get carried away with how things have gone in the past or to read too much into how Wales went against Australia last week.

"When you start believing you're just going to find it comfortable and march forward, that's when you get unstuck so it's important we concentrate.

"We're under no illusions that they're going to be fired up and ready for us."

It's 121kg Sheridan who has fired up on previous occasions against Australia, notably in the infamous uncontested scrums during the Twickenham Test of 2005 and in a World Cup quarter-final in Marseille three years ago.

To Australians, it seems the 31-year-old has built a career out of demolishing Wallabies scrums.

Two years ago, though, Australia turned the tables with Moore man of the match and Al Baxter exacting revenge after he was yellow-carded for scrum infringements in 2005.

Last weekend, England outmuscled the scrum they say is the world's best, the All Blacks', but forwards coach Graham Rowntree was also keeping to the official line on the Wallabies.

"We've been here before ... talking about perceived dominance," he said.

"Wales didn't have it all their own way on the weekend.

"We have to be respectful of what they can do, what they did in the Tri-Nations."

But Rowntree couldn't completely conceal the confidence his men will take to Twickenham this weekend.

"I'm worried about us (not the Wallabies) and what we're doing in that scrum so we're perfect, so people have to transgress to stop us pushing," he said.

England will field a powerhouse front row with Sheridan to partner the man dubbed the "silent assassin" against NZ, Dan Cole, and promoted hardman Dylan Hartley.

It was left to Hartley, who avoided being cited for using a forearm on All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw last weekend, to go closest to veering off-message.

"The scrum is not just a way to restart the game, it is a way to win games. It is a weapon," he said.

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