England’s Welsh nightmare last week may have caused many fans sleepless nights but Saracens centre Brad Barritt insists the chance to right those wrongs against Australia has ensured the players haven’t been down in the dumps.
The defeat to Wales at Twickenham felt like a hammer blow for Stuart Lancaster’s men at the time but it wasn’t fatal to their Rugby World Cup chances.
England are three points behind Australia and seven behind Wales in Pool A but beat the Wallabies on Saturday and it’ll likely be the Red Rose sitting pretty while the other two giants scrap for a second qualifying spot.
It all sounds so simple – but Australia are a force to be reckoned with. Winners of this summer’s Rugby Championship and boasting an improved scrum, England will not have it all their own way this Saturday no matter the result.
But Barritt, who moves back to inside centre at the expense of the benched Sam Burgess of Bath Rugby, says his side have slept easy this week knowing their fate still lies in their own hands.
“This team has an incredible amount of resilience, over the past couple of years we’ve had setbacks along the way but we’ve always responded well,” he said.
“In terms of our preparation this week it’s been spot on, the guys came back with a definite point to prove and there was a hunger within the camp. It’ll be one that we’ll throw the kitchen sink at.
“There’s always a bit of perspective after a loss, the great thing is our destiny is in our own hands and that’s the way we’ve seen it since Sunday – put the past behind you and move on.
“If things had been different it may have been harder to move on.
“We know this weekend is even bigger than last weekend because of the outcome it has for the rest of the tournament. The team’s got themselves into pretty good mental and physical shape to take on this huge encounter.
“The whole voice of Twickenham will be behind us and the guys can’t be more ready.”
Lancaster has chopped and changed his midfield again with Barritt shifting back to the inside to make way at No.13 for Bath Rugby’s Jonathan Joseph, who has recovered from the chest injury that kept him out of the side against Wales.
It will only be the third game in which the pair have started alongside each other, though Barritt will be reunited with fellow Saracen Owen Farrell on his inside at fly-half.
Barritt is glad to be back in a more familiar role – and he’s convinced yet another different midfield combination can be a winning one.
“If you’ve got an opportunity to play for England you’ll play wherever you’re needed, but 12 is obviously my preferred position,” added the 29-year-old.
“That’s where I play for my club and the majority of my games for England, so I’m very pleased to be back.
“There are opportunities from within this camp to have great balance, we are never going to die wondering in terms of this game.
“But there’s got to be that balance between attack and defence, we’ve all trained together over the last three months and we’re all very comfortable with each other.”