Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies primed for physical quarter-final battle against England

Wallabies captain Micahel Hooper says he and David Pocock are prepared for the physical battle with Tom Curry and Sam Underhill in Australia's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England. 

The two sets of flankers boast the same ball-hunting modus operandi but hailing from vastly different backgrounds.

Hooper and Pocock will start a 27th test together as "Pooper" and hope their experience can make a difference at Oita Stadium. The pair who share 180 caps between them.

Meanwhile, Underhill, 23, and Curry, 21, have only 28 caps between them and will be starting together for just the fourth time.

They were dubbed the "Kamikaze Kids" by England coach Eddie Jones, for their trail of destruction and unrelenting energy on the playing field.

Hooper was asked if he felt old lining up against the pair who earlier in the week said they were teenagers when they began admiring the Pooper combination's influence on games.

"I look old, I don't know if I feel old," Hooper said.

"As far as experience goes, you could go, yeah, it's great to have experience but also being youthful is of benefit. I have been in their shoes before, being wide-eyed, ready to attack things."

Bath forward Underhill said the Wallabies pair blazed a trail for what is becoming a trend among leading nations.

Other leading nations such as New Zealand have reverted to twin openside flankers for the World cup.

"Pocock is probably the best in the world in terms of how strong he is, and his body position. On top of that they have good timing," Underhill said.

"I think timing is probably the most important of the two.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies primed for physical quarter-final battle against England

"But in a way they are kind of a victim of their own success. You can see how much emphasis teams put on negating players who are good at the breakdown now."

Hooper believed an important factor will be adjusting quickly to the breakdown boundaries established by French referee Jerome Garces.

He and Pocock found success attacking turnover ball in some pool games, which suits the Wallabies' strengths, but definitely not in others.

"I have observed the ruck being refereed a multitude of ways, not any one way in particular. So, it's made it quite tricky there," he said.

Jones backed his tearaways, in conjunction with bullocking No.8 Billy Vunipola, to at least hold their own.

He rated Pocock the best No.7 in the world over the last decade, even eclipsing All Blacks great Richie McCaw, while Hooper had developed into a "massively important" leader for the Wallabies.

"But our two young boys are just getting better every game," Jones said.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 8:15pm Saturday for live updates of for the Australia v England Rugby World Cup quarter-final. 

AAP

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