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Australia fighting fit for England showdown

2015-09-28 20:34
Ben McCalman (AP)

London - Australia have emerged relatively unscathed from their opening two Rugby World Cup wins and are in good shape ahead of the Pool A showdown against England on Saturday.

The Wallabies came through a 28-13 victory over Fiji and a 65-3 rout of Uruguay without picking up any major injuries.

"A couple of scans are going on this afternoon. Wycliff Palu is one of those, Will Skelton is one of the others," fitness coach Haydn Masters told a news conference in Birmingham on Monday.

"We play a collision sport. There's no doubt that injuries happen as a result of that. Others are as a result of preparation.

"We've been pretty good with our preparation and are going in the direction we want to go. We're fortunate to come through relatively unscathed, but the tournament is only in its infancy so anything can happen."

Masters said it was a balance between retaining players' freshness and keeping them match-fit.

"Obviously the atmosphere of World Cup games is pretty difficult to handle if they're not used to it," he said.

"If you are not fresh mentally and physically you go in with a little bit more anxiety and stress. We're in a good pool and we're pretty battle-hardened. Our guys are ready to go."

England lost 28-25 to Wales on Saturday and must beat the Wallabies to stay on course for the quarter-finals.

"It's not an extra incentive to knock England out. Our focus is to win every game," flanker Ben McCalman said.

"Every opportunity you get to play in the Australian jersey is a special one. We are here to win every game and we are on the right path to do that. There's a lot of hype."

Australia's forward pack has improved recently under the guidance of scrum coach Mario Ledesma.

"Mario has brought that collective and the whole-eight mentality to win the ball for the backs and to release them out wide," McCalman said.

"We are very ready for it. We've done the work and now we've got 80 minutes to show it."

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