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It's not pretty, but McCabe sizes up England's mighty centres

Date

Georgina Robinson

Dangerous ... Manu Tuilagi.

Dangerous ... Manu Tuilagi. Photo: Getty Images

LONDON: Injured Wallabies centre Pat McCabe says England power-centres Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt will put Australia's midfield under extreme pressure at Twickenham this weekend.

While much of the English media have become preoccupied with the aesthetic merits of Stuart Lancaster's wingers, after Digby Ioane joked they were ''pretty, really good-looking'', McCabe has been sizing up the threat posed by Samoan-born wunderkind Tuilagi and his imposing South African teammate.

''Since the World Cup where [Tuilagi] sprung onto the scene, in my eyes anyway, he has been a big presence in terms of getting them over the advantage line first phase and just what he offers multi-phase, in terms of drawing defenders, and also carrying the ball extremely strongly,'' McCabe said.

''Barritt does that well, too; he gets them over the advantage line. He is extremely physical in terms of defence. They've combined extremely well over the last few months … they're going to be a handful to stop.''

While Australia's scrum will be tested against England, there are also serious concerns about the Wallabies' attack.

England dominated possession in their 54-12 rout of Fiji last weekend but they also ripped holes in the visitors' defence, making countless line breaks that allowed them to collect seven tries in a performance that hinted at their attacking potential.

Australia's failure to score any tries in their past two Tests sits in stark contrast. McCabe said he could not put a finger on why the Wallabies' attack was ''extremely poor'' against France.

''It is not just one thing; we are not attacking [only] narrow, we are not attacking wider, we are just not as effective as we can be and need to be,'' he said.

''Our effectiveness at the breakdown is going to help us a lot, we burned too many numbers there and really did stifle our attack. Also, just communicating where we want to go and combining as a back line rather than just being scattered across the field, which is something we were doing.''

New-look England have several threats in the back line. Winger Charlie Sharples, who scored two tries against Fiji, is the latest revelation.

Originally a replacement for favourite Chris Ashton, the Gloucester 23-year-old's performance will make him an irresistible selection. Lancaster will likely move Sharples on to the left flank to make way for Ashton's return from a one-match ban.

Ashton caused the Wallabies great pain the last time the teams met, with a length-of-the-field try that helped them to a record 35-18 victory at Twickenham two years ago.

But it was his reported good looks that have dominated the coverage in London, after Ioane kicked off his first media conference of the tour with a cheeky joke about appearances.

His comments were interpreted as ''pouring scorn'' on the likes of Ashton and Sharples and turned into back-page headlines, all very amusing considering Ioane's publicly stated high regard for Ashton's abilities and the Reds winger's own fondness for fashion and a generous daub of hair product.

At least England five-eighth Toby Flood got the joke.

''Pretty? Chris? The man with see-through skin?'' he said. ''He's from Wigan, too - the home of the supermodel. Can't see it with Charlie 'Bean head' Sharples, although I can see what Digby means with Ugo Monye. He's quite an attractive man.

''It was an odd comment. Mind you, Australia have got some lookers in their squad. I've got my own scoring sheet on them at home.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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