Saturday 17 March 2018

Lancaster's 'attack' warning to Wallabies

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has warned Australia that his team intend to come out firing on Saturday at Twickenham with an emphasis on attack.

"We believe we have a great attacking team," said Lancaster yesterday.

The key areas for selection centre on the second-row and scrum-half.

Northampton's Lee Dickson is pressing hard for the No 9 shirt ahead of Ben Youngs.

Dickson's high-tempo style would suit the ball-carrying Vunipola brothers, although Youngs offers the greater running threat.

At lock, the choice comes down to Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling or Joe Launchbury, with Dave Attwood, of Bath, making a late push after returning last weekend from a rib injury.

England will definitely be without Northampton's Alex Corbisiero, the loosehead prop who did such a destructive number on the Wallabies scrum in the third Test for the Lions. His knee injury has not healed in time, although Lancaster said he would be fit to face Argentina the following week.

The Pumas have lost their best forward and captain, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, to injury. The Toulon player suffered a fractured elbow while on Top 14 duty last Friday.


Wales and Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips intends to take legal action against struggling French club Bayonne after they sacked him for allegedly turning up for a video analysis session under the influence of alcohol.

Alain Afflelou, the Basque club's chairman and major financial backer, confirmed the decision yesterday.

"It was him or me," he said. "If the decision hadn't been taken, I could not have stayed. I kept him on a year ago, against everyone's advice.

"This summer, I even invited him to my house to offer him a contract extension. This is treason. With all our problems at the moment, we did not need this type of behaviour. It could no longer be tolerated."


JAMES O'CONNOR is seeking to piece his career back together at London Irish.

The multi-faceted Australian back, richly talented in at least three positions, had his Wallaby contract terminated this month after a number of off-field indiscretions, culminating in a brush with police while attempting to board a holiday flight in Perth.

His decision to head for Europe after failing to agree terms with Western Force put a number of European clubs on alert and he opted for the Exiles, where he will work with a fellow Australian in Brian Smith, the former England attack coach.

Irish Independent

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