Noon gunning for Aussies

England centre Jamie Noon is determined to put "a spanner in the works" of Australia's well-oiled defensive machine at the Telstra Dome. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

England centre Jamie Noon is determined to put "a spanner in the works" of Australia’s well-oiled defensive machine at the Telstra Dome.

The world champions complete another poor season against a Wallabies outfit that cruised to victory in last weekend’s first Test.

It was a result which prompted head coach Andy Robinson to change almost half his starting line-up, including a recall for 18 times-capped Noon, who will partner Mike Catt in midfield.

Robinson has talked all week about converting chances into points, and Noon’s role is pivotal in terms of find a way through an Australian side expected to show considerable improvements from five days ago when they cruised home 34-3.

"Hopefully, we can put some sort of spanner in the works and put some doubt in their minds," he said.

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"As an attacking force, we have got to keep them guessing. I feel I can offer certain things, and hopefully that will mean getting us some go-forward.

"I have confidence in my own ability with regard to what I can do and what I can offer. You’ve got to, especially at this level.

"To be honest, I thought the guys did all right last Sunday. We made five breaks during the first half, so we should have definitely come away with more than we did.

"I am just relieved to be in the side. We have got nothing to lose going into this game – we are not expected to win – so we are going to throw everything we can at it."

After Saturday, England’s next scheduled Test is against the All Blacks at Twickenham on November 5, and current form suggests they will not seriously trouble the World Cup favourites.

England are staring at a fifth successive defeat – their worst results sequence since 1984 – so it is imperative they leave Australia with a morale-boosting performance.

The tourists believe they possess a back division capable of cashing in on any forward supremacy that might materialise, despite Mathew Tait being switched from centre to wing and fly-half playmaker Olly Barkley relegated to bench duty.

Full-back Iain Balshaw and wing Tom Varndell remain key strike weapons, with attack coach Brian Ashton also backing fly-half Andy Goode’s appearance for what will be only a second Test start.

"Iain is an outstanding player who needs games," said Ashton.

"He has had some injury problems and hasn’t played that much, but I believe full-back is his natural position. His ability to read and hit space, if you watch him from behind the posts, is second to none.

"Andy Goode is a confident sort of player. I have been talking with him, and I am convinced he will handle the pressure very well.

"With Tom Varndell, he has only just turned 20 and there are areas of his game he will be the first to admit he needs to improve, but he also has what most others in world rugby don’t have – absolute blistering pace.

"What the boy needs is to learn. Composure will come with a bit more experience, and so will all-round improvement, but Tom has the potential to become a tremendous international footballer. You have to remember his inexperience at this level."

Robinson has added power to the pack in hooker George Chuter, who makes his first Test start, and locks Chris Jones and Ben Kay, while recalled flanker Joe Worsley is still hurting from his surprise first Test omission.

England should be more combative and decisive than they were in Sydney, but Australia are again likely to top 30 points.

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