Rugby World Cup 2015: Australia revival impresses Rowntree

Scott Sio carries into traffic against the All Blacks
Prop Scott Sio, 23, has only won seven caps but has played a major role in Australia's improvement at the scrum
England v France - World Cup warm-up
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 15 August Kick-off: 20:00 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live (19:45-22:00), highlights on BBC One (23:45-00:45), repeated Sun 16 Aug, BBC Two, (13:00-14:00), plus live text and radio commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Australia's recent performances have "raised the bar" for their World Cup rivals, England forwards coach Graham Rowntree believes.

Last week, the Wallabies won the Rugby Championship with a first win in four years over world champions New Zealand.

Australia meet both England and Wales in Pool A at the World Cup.

"The manner in which they're doing it - their set-piece and their breakdown work - they've raised the bar for the rest of us," Rowntree told BBC 5 live.

"I've been watching them very closely. Their last three games have been very impressive.

"Starting with the South Africa win, going to Argentina and winning - and given Argentina's performance at the weekend [beating South Africa] that win is even more impressive - and then to beat the All Blacks..."

England's recent success over the Wallabies has been based on a dominant scrum, which was again in evidence when the two sides met at Twickenham last November.

However, the Wallabies' oft-maligned set-piece has shown signs of improvement under head coach Michael Cheika and scrum guru Mario Ledesma, who won 84 caps for Argentina.

"It's very impressive. They have got Ledesma involved - the former Argentina hooker - and you can see the difference it's made," Rowntree added.

"It will change a lot of people's perceptions of them. I've always had an immense respect for them, but the way they are playing these last three games, they have set the bar higher."

Both England and Australia are in action this weekend, with Australia facing the All Blacks at Eden Park, and England hosting France at Twickenham.

The two sides meet at the World Cup on 3 October.

England will host the tournament, which runs from 18 September to 31 October, with matches also taking place in Cardiff.

Listen to Matt Dawson's Rugby Show on Radio 5 live on Thursday 20:00 for an in-depth look at World Cup preparations in the northern and southern hemisphere.

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