x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Australia underdogs against England for Cook Cup, warns McCabe

Australia centre Pat McCabe believes his side's rout by France last weekend has put England in the driving seat for their upcoming Cook Cup clash.

Australia's Pat McCabe takes a breather during training in England
Australia's Pat McCabe takes a breather during training in England

Australia centre Pat McCabe believes England are favourites for Saturday's Cook Cup showdown at Twickenham.

Robbie Deans' side are smarting from their 33-6 rout by France while England opened their four-Test autumn programme by putting Fiji to sword 54-12.

The standard of their opposition may have been significantly different, but Stuart Lancaster's side are now rated as odd-on winners - and McCabe agrees.

"England are a team who know what they want to do at different stages and they're very effective," he warned.

"The Poms would have to be favourites because of the way they played against Fiji.

"They were outstanding while we were extremely poor against France."

McCabe believes stopping opposite number Brad Barritt and his centre partner Manu Tuilagi - a midfield partnership that values power over guile - will be key.

"I haven't played against Manu, but I played against Brad when he was playing in South Africa," he said.

"They're two very physical guys who are extremely effective at getting them over the gainline at first phase.

"A lot of England's game rolls on from that so as centres we'll have to be really physical to stop them."

England winger Ashton, who returns after missing Saturday's 54-12 rout of Fiji through suspension, left his mark on Australia two years ago.

Running nearly the length of the field to score a brilliantly-worked try, he spearheaded England's 35-18 triumph on a memorable day at Twickenham.

"I've watched Ashton for a long time and it's hugely exciting for me to be playing against him," said McCabe.

"I've seen a lot of the tries he's scored and he's been a dangerous player for England for a long time.

"I saw his try two years ago from the stands. It wasn't a pleasant thing to see."

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