QBE Internationals: Graham Rowntree pleased with England's strength in depth

Last Updated: 30/10/13 9:27am

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England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has backed props Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler to step up to the mark against Australia.

England are without the injured Alex Corbisiero for Saturday's Cook Cup clash at Twickenham, with his Lions team-mate Vunipola and Harlequins loosehead Marler vying for the No 1 shirt.

Rowntree has been impressed with the duo and is confident that whoever is selected will make a positive contribution against the Wallabies.

Rowntree told Sky Sports News: "Mako will go well because his club form has been excellent this year.

"He's come a long way in the past year because he's learnt from every big experience he's been involved in. I think the new scrum laws suit him. The closeness and proximity of the scrums suit his stats.

"But you say all of that about Joe Marler as well. We've got two very good looseheads in our squad."


England crashed to a 20-14 defeat when Australia visited Twickenham last November and Rowntree says both players and coaches learned a lot from that setback.

"We got taught a very good lesson, especially at the breakdown and the intensity of Michael Hooper," said Rowntree. "That really kicked us on for our next two games against South Africa and New Zealand (which England won 38-21)."

Quade Cooper did not feature in that Wallabies success or last summer's three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions, but the fly-half has since returned to the squad and has shown signs of a return to his best form.

"He's a jack in the box," said Rowntree. "You never know what's coming with Quade.

"I've been involved in teams that have played against him before. We know that if he is playing, we have to give him enough attention to make sure he's not pulling out all of those tricks."

Watch England v Australia live on Saturday at 1.30pm on Sky 3D and Sky Sports 2 HD.

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