Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Your Game Do the Talking; A Few Choice Words from a Key Member of Australia's 1991 World Cup-Winning Team

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Your Game Do the Talking; A Few Choice Words from a Key Member of Australia's 1991 World Cup-Winning Team

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL LYNAGH

AUSTRALIA will triumph in a tight battle with England at Twickenham on Saturday because they have the priceless ability to fashion a win under extreme pressure.

I know that is how England beat the Wallabies a year ago - a try in the 90th minute - but the Wallabies have the confidence to achieve this on a regular basis while English have seen three Grand Slams slip by.

England should have won at least two of those Slams but something is missing when it comes down to that vital point of a match. England are still a damn fine team and they will, I am sure, discover this ability.

Clive Woodward's men will be looking at these three Autumn internationals as a way of getting over another missed opportunity.

They will be thinking: "If we beat the world champion Australians, Romania and then South Africa we are going to be back on track for the Six Nations."

If England go into the 2002 championship, which begin in February, with those wins they really will believe a Slam is possible and that would remove a monkey that has turned into a very large gorilla from their backs.

The absence of Martin Johnson has been a key factor and the problem created by his hand injury has been compounded by the fact that England's backup leaders, Lawrence Dallaglio and Matt Dawson, are also out. I believe that having Johnson around is important for the wellbeing of the entire team.

Johnson is a rugby icon, just like John Eales, who captained Australia to World Cup success in 1999 and led the team to a Test series triumph over the Lions this summer, before retiring.

However, the Wallabies have been preparing for that situation and George Gregan is now in control of the side. It isn't like losing Johnson and then finding the next two guys in line are also out of the equation. …

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