Sam Underhill has urged England to strike the right emotional pitch in their battle of manhood against Australia.
At Twickenham on Saturday the old rivals lock horns for the first time since the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup when Eddie Jones’ men emerged emphatic 40-16 winners.
Underhill was among the stars as England’s charge to the final truly lifted off and while he knows the value of passion, he understands it can be a double-edged sword.
“There’s a massive bit of competition there. It brings an emotional edge to the game, which in a contact sport is always a useful thing to have,” the Bath flanker said.
“There is room for emotion in sport but there is already enough of it when you have got 30 fairly testosterone-fuelled blokes on the pitch. I don’t think you need much more emotion in the first place.
“Australia are a tough team. They’re aggressive, physical, they contest the breakdown a lot and they are a dangerous attacking team.
“When they’ve got the ball they’ve got brilliant individuals who can break tackles. Michael Hooper is one of the guys, as a young player, I would look up to.
“He has been outstanding for a long time so it’s great to play against a guy like him.”
Under Eddie Jones, England have developed a remarkable record against Australia that now stands at an immaculate seven wins from as many appearances and that sequence is expected to be extended at Twickenham on Saturday.
“I haven’t played them seven times so for me it’s not something I think about too much,” Underhill said.
“I don’t think form matters too much. It’s a bit of a hot-hand fallacy, you’ve got to turn up on the day.
“What someone has done in a previous game doesn’t matter too much in my opinion, you’re only as good as your next game and that’s the attitude we’re taking into it.”
Jones on Thursday morning names his team to face Australia with Owen Farrell expected to be restored at fly-half after missing the Tonga rout because of a false-positive Covid test.
“Owen’s a brilliant guy to have around. He’s very influential, he’s a very motivational character, he works hard, drives people around him and he brings a good sense of calm,” Underhill said.