Nov 14 2012
Toby Flood laughed off the idea that Australia will target England's "pretty wingers" in Saturday's Cook Cup showdown - saying they do not have any!
Wallaby wing Digby Ioane made the unusual pre-match jibe in his assessment of the challenge that Chris Ashton and Charlie Sharples will pose at Twickenham.
"I don't really know who he could be talking about," Flood laughed. "Is he talking about Charlie Sharples with his bean head or Chris Ashton with his see-through skin? I can see what he means about Ugo Monye, to be fair. He is an attractive man. The Aussies have got some lookers too. I have got my own scoring system, I will do it at home."
Monye is the one wing Australia will not be facing on Saturday after he was released back to Harlequins and replaced in the 23-man squad by Ashton.
When it comes to the matter of Saturday's QBE international, Flood is deadly serious. The most experienced member of the side is determined for England to start fast and test whether the wounded Wallabies really are "unstable".
Australia head to Twickenham on the back of a 33-6 pummelling from France and without David Pocock, the flanker who has joined Quade Cooper, Will Genia and James O'Connor on the injured list.
The Wallabies camp has been in a state of upheaval this year. Cooper blasted the environment as "toxic" and coach Robbie Deans has been under pressure after disappointing performances in the Rugby Championship.
Flood is unsure whether the Paris result is an accurate reflection of the state of Australian rugby given the Wallabies drew 18-18 with New Zealand before they left for Europe. But he is certain that the best way for England to expose any cracks that do exist in the Australia camp is to hit them hard, right from the outset.
"Whether Australia are unstable or not as a side is an interesting one because I don't trust the result against France," Flood said. "The anomaly of France winning 33-6 is similar to Australia putting 50 points on the French two years ago. Both sides have the ability to do a lot of damage.
"I see them as a side that went 18-18 with New Zealand. Of course, they have had a few issues and the injuries will have had an impact on the continuity of the side. We will look to get an ascendancy in the first 20 minutes and drive home our advantage because if we can turn the screw in the first 20 minutes then it will make a big impact."