Lancaster has spent the summer observing the Wallabies in their Lions defeat and the unsuccessful Rugby Championship campaign, but despite these disappointing performances he believed Australia have gathered some good momentum.
“The DNA of Australia is about being winners in any professional sport – not just rugby, but anything they play internationally,” he said. “They’re a force to be reckoned with and for that, they deserve everyone’s respect.
“They’ve got some very good athletes – on their day, their backline is as good as anyone’s. Their pack includes some very competitive back five forwards and their front row has shown on occasions that they can cause problems for the opposition. We know from this time last year that they are a smart side and we need to be at their best to beat them. We didn’t get that right last year – we need to this year.”
This time around England will need to compete against the mercurial play maker Quade Cooper who has been recalled the gold and green after a 2012 filled with disagreements (shall we say) with Wallaby management leading to his exclusion. He will join up with Reds team mate Will Genia and their long time mentor and now national coach Ewen Mckenzie.
“As an attacking player, he’s outstanding,” he explained. “That is his range of passing, his balance, his footwork, his ability to put people through gaps. His goal-kicking was outstanding at the weekend, too. On his day he can be world-class and seems to be in that kind of form at the moment. His partnership with Will Genia is critical for them.
England host the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday, KO 14:30 GMT (16:30 CAT)