England v Australia - Key battles

Last updated at 13:33 05 October 2007


Jason Robinson

England full-back Robinson produced what head coach Brian Ashton described as

one of the tournament's finest individual displays against South Africa three

weeks ago, but it all ended in agony as Robinson limped off with a hamstring

injury and the world champions lost 36-0.

Robinson, England's 2003 World Cup final tryscorer, has now made a complete

recovery and he returns as England's most potent attacking option, but the

brilliant Queenslander Latham possesses pace, power and finesse in abundance and

he will hurt England if they give him an opportunity.


Jonny Wilkinson

Four years after Wilkinson kicked the World Cup-winning drop-goal that broke

Australian hearts, Newcastle's finest plans a repeat performance as England's

playmaker and matchwinner-in-chief. He also needs just six points to overtake

Gavin Hastings as the all-time top World Cup pointscorer.

Berrick Barnes

While England are relieved to have Wilkinson fully fit following a succession

of injury troubles, Australia will look for another masterclass from 21-year-old

Barnes, who continues in the number 10 shirt vacated by an injured Stephen

Larkham. Barnes exudes confidence and quality, but no team has seriously tested

him yet in this World Cup.


andrew sheridan

Sale Sharks prop Sheridan's one-man wrecking job on the Australian front row at

Twickenham two years ago left the Wallabies suffering from severe mental

scarring. The set-pieces are again an area where England will look to make their

presence felt, with 6ft 4in, 19-stone Sheridan spearheading the push for

physical supremacy.

Wallabies forwards coach Michael Foley has overseen a considerable improvement

in the Australian front five since that bleak November afternoon, and ACT

Brumbies tighthead Shepherdson is the player entrusted with holding Sheridan. It

could prove the biggest examination of his Test career.

LEWIS MOODY (England) v GEORGE SMITH (Australia)

"Mad Dog" Moody, as he was affectionately christened during an England press

conference earlier this week, wins his 50th cap on an occasion when he must

again adopt the fearless, selfless attitude he brings to every game he plays


Physically battered after launching his body through the pain barrier against

Tonga last week, the Leicester flanker will keep a close eye on Wallabies

fly-half Barnes and look to win a mouth-watering battle with Australian openside

Smith, whose ability at securing possession on the floor is perhaps peerless in

world rugby.

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