England's 'pretty wingers' in Ioane's sights
LONDON (AFP) –
Australia flyer Digby Ioane is looking forward to launching his Test comeback against England’s “pretty wingers” at Twickenham this coming Saturday.
Ioane could find himself in direct opposition to Chris Ashton, available for selection again after missing England’s 54-12 Twickenham trouncing of Fiji last weekend through suspension.
However, fellow wings Charlie Sharples and Ugo Monye, who between them scored three of England’s seven tries against the Pacific Islanders, will have something to say about that.
The 27-year-old Ioane has missed the Wallabies’ last two matches, including their crushing 33-6 defeat by France in Paris on Saturday, with a knee injury.
Ioane though expects to be fit to face England in this weekend’s Cook Cup clash and is excited by the challenge posed by whoever gets to wear the No 11 and No 14 shirts for Stuart Lancaster’s side.
“The England wingers are pretty, really good looking. I just can’t wait to go against them,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to this game because I want to redeem myself.
“In the last few matches I’ve been injured and have struggled. Now I’m fully fit and I’ve got to prove myself again.”
Ashton sealed his place in Anglo-Australian rugby history two years ago with one of the most spectacular Test tries ever seen at Twickenham when he ran nearly the length of the field in a move that started from England’s own line for a stunning score in England’s 35-18 victory.
Ioane has yet to oppose the Saracens wing but has seen enough of the rugby league convert on YouTube to be impressed by Ashton.
“It will be really exciting and an honour to play against Ashton,” Ioane said.
“I’ve never played against a winger like him so I’m looking forward to it.
“I hear he’s coming back into his stride and is really respected over here. I’ve watched a lot of him on YouTube. There’s a lot of clips on there of him scoring tries.
“I respect what he’s done for his country and his league background. Normally in Australia any league players who join union end up going back to league.
“I find going from league to union is pretty hard, while it’s pretty easy the other way around.
“I find league’s not skilful, you’ve just got 13 guys and you have to run against them. Union is different, there’s more to it.”
Injuries have hampered the Wallabies in 2012, with their under-fire Kiwi coach Robbie Deans getting through 41 players in 12 Tests and naming four captains.
Meanwhile their last two Tests have seen Australia fail to score a try — something that last happened back in 1979 and an astonishing statistic for the Wallabies, renowned for their back play.
“It’s frustrating, but you can’t pull everything off in one day,” said Ioane.
“Hopefully we can show on Saturday what we’re capable of.
“We’re not offering excuses, but we just haven’t had our full team on the pitch.
“Losing games isn’t a good feeling and it means you have to pick it up.
“But France played really well. Their scrums and offloads killed us.
“You think they’re down in the tackle but then they get that second pass away. It’s hard to defend against that sort of play.”
Deans is set to include dynamic openside flanker David Pocock, coming back from a knee injury, in his team to play England.
“Pocock has the X-factor,” Ioane said. “He brings a lot of chat and confidence. He’s someone to look up to.”