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‘Australia to shift their game for the Rugby Championship’ – Horan

Australia played into England’s hands this summer. But they can find a better balance in their game to challenge for honours in the Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship.


That’s the view of former Wallabies centre and double World Cup winner Tim Horan on the eve of this year’s Southern Hemisphere international series.

Australia face New Zealand on August 20, the opening date of a tournament that concludes in Europe for the first time when the Wallabies take on Argentina at Twickenham Stadium on October 8.

To be successful, Australia need to be more hard-nosed argues Horan, who won World Cups with the Wallabies in 1991 and 1999.

“Sometimes you can have a World Cup hangover or you can continue to evolve in the way the All Blacks have,” said Horan.

“We lost to a very good England team with a very well-structured game plan. We played into their hands. England played Test Match rugby.

“Maybe because our market is cluttered – with Super Rugby, Rugby League, and so on – [Head Coach] Michael Chieka was trying to play attractive, entertaining rugby.

“But there is a balance. England showed the difference between losing and winning and being smarter. Up front against England, we got a bit monstered at the breakdown.”

Returning overseas stars – like Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper – will help, as will putting some distance between themselves and the bonus point, try-chasing format of Super Rugby. “It’s hard to pull back from that,” said Horan.

After the 3-0 defeat to England, the Wallabies start the Rugby Championship with back-to-back Tests against the New Zealanders who beat them in last year’s World Cup final.

Fox Sports expert Horan added: “Once you’ve finished a World Cup you’ve got to evolve and you’ve got to work out your game plan in advance – how you’re going to defend, attack, your styles and patterns.

“They will still attack and entertain fans but have to be more balanced. But they’re in good shape, there aren’t many injured – apart from Kurtley Beale we’re pretty much at full strength – and they’ve got experienced players coming in. I think Will Genia will make a big difference”

Get it right and there could be a party atmosphere at Twickenham on October 8 with the Pumas committed to their all-court attacking game. The Wallabies are back in town to play England on December 3.

“Playing Argentina at Twickenham is a great idea,” said Horan, who spent three seasons in the UK capital with Saracens from 2000-03.

“There are so many expats from Argentina in Europe and if you’re an Australia supporter you get to see two Wallabies tests in a couple of months. I’m sure plenty of backpackers will work a couple of extra weeks in the pubs to stay on and see it!”

Tim Horan’s key three

Will Genia fit again after long lay-off and back from France

“His style suits the Wallabies. He can kick and find space and it’s about knowing the right time to run and kick.”

Israel Folausuperstar fullback, despite calls to move him to centre

“We all know what Israel Folau can do. Our best fullback, the best player under the high ball and if we’re going to beat the All Blacks this year he needs to be at fullback.”

Bernard Foleystung England at World Cup but missed kicks in June

“He was probably the best player in the World Cup for the Wallabies but he went to Japan, got injured and needs to be fresh and igniting the back line.”

Tickets to Argentina v Australia at Twickenham Stadium are available from £45 for adults, £25 for children (U16) and a family package (2 adults & 2 children) for £115. (Booking fees apply) Click here for details.