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Oz 'not the brightest team' - Sir Clive

2015-10-02 14:57
Clive Woodward (Gallo)

London - Hosts England can beat Australia in their do-or-die Rugby World Cup clash if they stick to their game plan because the Wallabies are "not the brightest team", according to 2003 winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.

Woodward, never one to shirk having a dig at his fierce rivals Wallabies during his coaching career and since he became a highly paid pundit, believes England will prevail by three points - just as they did in the epic final in Sydney 12 years ago.

His Australian counterpart - from that memorable evening in Sydney - Eddie Jones, now in charge of Japan, believes the Pool A clash will be tight but says the Wallabies might "sneak it by one or two points".

The third member of the celebrated rugby troika to chew the cud in the Daily Mail on Saturday's blockbuster, grizzled Italian prop Martin Castrogiovanni, agrees with Woodward that England will sneak a narrow win - but says they will have to be perfect.

England lost 28-25 against Wales last weekend despite holding a 10-point lead at one stage and with the Welsh ravaged by injuries during the game - putting the hosts in danger of crashing out of the competition at the group stage.

"It’s about never letting them (the Australians) off the hook," said Woodward.

"If you can keep hold of the ball, and run through the phases, always moving forwards, Australia will disintegrate.

"Do the opposite of what they expect, move the ball quickly from the scrum, take quick lineouts, tap and go.

"Contrary to popular belief, they are not the brightest team, they give away penalties and pick up yellow cards when they're stretched."

Castrogiovanni, who played in England for Leicester Tigers and has also turned out for Toulon and Racing92, said England's love of the scrum could be pivotal although they would not want to be dragged all over the pitch.

"Their power is in the forwards and the set-piece can be a big asset," said the Italian, who is the record Italian caps-holder with 115.

"On the flipside, they are all big guys who love eating chicken and going to the gym, so they might struggle if the opposition try to move them round."

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