Mako Vunipola Uncertainty cloaks latest match in England-Australia rivalry

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OITA, Japan (AP) — Undercooked or fresh for the challenge ahead? That’s the question hovering around England.

As for Australia, the main issue is this: Can a team known for pulling out a big performance when it matters reverse the course of recent history?

No one can say with any real confidence how Saturday’s quarterfinal match at the Rugby World Cup will turn out in the latest chapter of one of sport’s great international rivalries.

Quite simply, there are too many unknowns.

England arrived at the tournament with concerns about the team’s mental fragility, prompting the hiring of a psychologist. Now the worries are as much about their physical shape.

The World Cup hasn’t really got going for the 2003 champion, with low-key run-outs against Tonga and the United States followed by what pretty much ended up being a walkover against an Argentina lineup reduced to 14 men for almost an hour. The last pool-stage game, against France, was canceled because of Typhoon Hagibis.

So what state will the English really be in after two weeks without a match? Can they suddenly switch into battle mode against the old enemy?

“Come and watch training,” England lock Courtney Lawes said this week, offering an invitation to the doubters.

“The way we train is to mimic games,” added teammate Elliot Daly.

England, with its pent-up frustration, could just as easily expl

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