England v Australia
Rowntree doesn't expect Wallabies pushover
ESPN Staff
November 25, 2014
Graham Rowntree speaks ahead of England's clash with Australia © Getty Images

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree believes Australia will be no pushover at set-piece time when the two sides meet at Twickenham this Saturday.

Historically the scrum has been a notorious Australian Achilles heel and England coach Stuart Lancaster has discussed trying to exert pressure in a department seen as a strength by England but Rowntree won't be taking the Australian pack lightly.

"I don't trust Australia, they're a canny team. Always have been," Rowntree said. "They're one of the most difficult teams to analyse in any week, but particularly in the last game of this series because they've lost their last two matches.I have so much respect for Michael Cheika. He's a wise, smart, coach and I'm sure there will be a few tricks up their sleeves, as there always are against Australia.

"I don't trust the notion that they'll potentially struggle in the set piece. Any time that has been said about them, they've proved us wrong. They're clever tactically. They set you up for things and then do something completely different. You have to have all of your bases covered with Australia because they're a very clever team. Around set-piece and line-out time, I'm sure they'll have a few sneaks ready."

Rowntree expressed delight at the progress made by England's current props Joe Marler and David Wilson, neither of whom would likely be considered first-choice if Alex Corbisiero or Dan Cole were fit for action.

"Our props have done well, they've grown in stature with experience and are very dependable now," said Rowntree. "They are class props. They're durable as well because it's a tough job doing what they are doing in the Test arena. They've both grown into their roles.

"In the past few years David has played a bit-part role for us off the bench, but he's been the mainstay for us over the last 10 months. I've been really pleased with his progress and he knows there's more to come from his game. Joe's the same. Last weekend his game involvement was better than ever. They both know there's more to come and it's my job to drive that. They're a delight to work with most of the time. They're good guys who have a good energy, especially when it's wet and cold and they're scrummaging."

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