The quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup are still over a week away but the mind games between England and Australia have already begun.
With Wales expected to beat Uruguay in Sunday’s clash, should the game go ahead, Australia will be confirmed as the runners-up in Pool D. The result means they are set to face Pool C winners, England, in the knockout stages in Oita on October 19.
England’s final group game against France this weekend was cancelled due to the impending Typhoon Hagibis meaning the game was deemed a 0-0 draw and both teams received two points.
The decision prompted Eddie Jones to say that the “typhoon gods” were smiling down on his side who now have a two-week break before their quarter-final clash.
Speaking after his side’s 27-8 win over Georgia on Friday, Australia head coach Michael Cheika commented that Jones had put pressure on his side to back up his statement with a win in the final eight.
“I saw that he was saying that would be an advantage and that the typhoon gods were smiling on him, so I suppose they better win – they’ve had the best preparation according to their coach, so they better go out there and win.”
Australia haven’t beaten England since their World Cup pool meeting in London in 2015. Since then, Eddie Jones’ side have a 6-0 win record against the Aussies.
Cheika insists that their recent meetings will have no consequence on their impending clash.
“I don’t know what relevance it will have – I don’t know if it’ll have any. I don’t really care to be honest.
“The only relevance is Saturday. That’s pretty much about it, it doesn’t matter who’s had a week off, who’s had a week on, who’s been resting, who hasn’t. It’ll all come down to what happens on kick-off.”
With their pool games wrapped up, Australia are set to return to Toyko to begin preparations for their quarter-final, however, with the weather threatening to wreak havoc, Cheika admits that none of their plans are concrete.
“We’re just working all of that out now. Couple of options, see what the weather’s doing now and what the roads are doing now and we’ll head for the hills somehow. Not sure where.
“We’ve learned a new word about the weather here, which I’ve been told by Michael Hooper I have to get into this press conference. The word is capricious. Which means it changes all the bloody time.”