Lancaster warns England to be wary of Australia

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has warned his players to be wary of Australia who will be hurting after losing to France and Ireland in their last two tests.

Australia head for Twickenham on Saturday hoping to end their year on a high after losing 29-26 to France and 26-23 to Ireland.

A victory in their final Test of the year will go some way to making up for recent losses as the match is against Rugby World Cup pool opponents England.

England will go into the match a little relieved after they ended a five match losing streak with a 28-9 victory over Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Four of those losses were to New Zealand’s All Blacks and the other was against South Africa’s Springboks but Lancaster has noted that they only lost the last two Tests by three points and they were against the world’s number 1 and number 2 ranked teams.

With less than a year to go until the start of the World Cup, Lancaster knows that this week’s England v Australia clash will have even more riding on it than usual.

“I’ve seen Australia lost to Ireland so they’ll come here hurting,” he said.

“We won’t forget the South Africa and New Zealand games but that Australia game is a big game for us next week, without a doubt.”

England took their time to subdue Samoa, not pulling away until the second half.

The most heartening aspect of England’s display was the form of fly-half George Ford, who made his first Test start after four appearances off the bench.

With Ford at No 10, regular outside-half Owen Farrell was shifted to inside centre.

Ford kicked 13 points but, more importantly, played a key role in two of England’s three tries.

His loop move provided the spark for the first of wing Jonny May’s two touchdowns before a well-weighted cross-kick led to a try for fullback Mike Brown.

Lancaster, who saw lock Courtney Lawes suffer a knee injury, is well aware the Wallabies will provide a stiffer test than a Samoa team that played 10 minutes of the second half a man down after Johnny Leota was sin-binned for a high tackle on Ford.

And he accepted he now had a decision to make over his starting fly-half.

“He’s put a real marker down for next week without a doubt,” Lancaster said of Ford.

“He’s got a great eye for a gap. His kicking game was good too. He showed a great deal of bravery and I thought it was a really positive first game for him.”

Samoa coach Stephen Betham lamented the fact his side couldn’t last the distance: “We came with a plan to upset England at the start and we did, but we faded at the end.”

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