England v Australia, November 17
Flood queries 'pretty wingers' jibe
November 14, 2012
Toby Flood looks set to keep his fly-half shirt for the Australia clash © PA Photos
Toby Flood has laughed off Australian winger Digby Ioane's "pretty wingers" jibe and has called on his side to start the Test better than they did against Fiji.
Chris Ashton looks set to return to England's starting XV after Ugo Monye was released back to Harlequins for club duty. And Ioane said yesterday that he was relishing the chance to come up against England's "pretty wingers", a claim that Flood has questioned.
"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."
Flood is likely to retain his fly-half spot for Saturday's Test against the Wallabies and he is wary of the threat the Australians pose despite their heavy loss to France last weekend.
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."
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