‘It’s a bit of a cauldron’: Wallabies vow to dominate England in Brisbane Test
England have been warned they will step into Australia’s “cauldron” for Saturday’s do-or-tie second Test with the Wallabies vowing to dominate them up front. Australia have won their last 10 matches in Brisbane – a record dating back to the 2016 defeat by England – and after taking a 1-0 lead in the series, despite losing the lock Darcy Swain to a red cardfor the series, the Wallabies are confident of gaining the upper hand in the crucial forwards battle.
Swain was sent off towards the end of the first half with Australia trailing by three points but with three second-half tries in 16 minutes they moved into a 30-14 lead before England’s late flurry. England had hoped to gain dominance at scrum-time – traditionally an area of strength against the Wallabies – but lost two of five scrums on their own feed despite Australia losing the tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa to injury in the first half.
The Wallabies front row is expected to be boosted with Taniela Tupou’s return to fitness and the loosehead Angus Bell believes Australia can further turn the screw at a stadium that has been a stronghold of late. “It’s about execution at the end of the day,” said Bell. “I was pretty unhappy with our set piece. It could be better.
“We’re not here to be even with England, we’re here to dominate them. We didn’t quite get that right. The red card didn’t help and we had players in different positions. We’re going to bring another step up in intensity in the set piece. We need to be better.”
Australia’s winning streak in Brisbane includes two victories over New Zealand, three against South Africa and two against France. The Wallabies defence coach, Matt Taylor, is expecting a backlash from England who will be “angry and aggressive” as they seek to level the series, but as a Queenslander himself he is well aware of the advantage playing in Brisbane gives Australia.
“I’m a Queenslander, and the Suncorp Stadium is a special place,” he said. “Maybe it’s the Queenslander-type parochial spirit that comes out, or how close it is. There have been a lot of famous games, both union and league, there and it’s a bit of a cauldron for us. We love playing there. It’s not going to get the job done for us if we don’t turn up, but it’s a happy place for us – a happy hunting ground.”
Taylor revealed that Australia had done their homework on Henry Arundell before the first Test despite the 19-year-old debutant’s remarkable cameo. Taylor highlighted how Andrew Kellaway and Noah Lolesio were “on their heels” when Arundell scored his stunning try, admitting that England’s two late scores served as a reminder to the dangers of complacency.
“We do a lot of homework on all the players and we had seen a fair bit of Henry in the Premiership,” Taylor said. “I know Petrus du Plessis has got a lot of good friends at [London Irish] and they were talking about the amount of tries he was scoring in their training sessions.”
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“We all knew how good a player he is. We knew he had really good pace. When you look at that try we probably sat back on him a little bit, on our heels and at the final moment when Andrew Kellaway and Noah came across, because they were sitting on their heels a little bit he had a bit of momentum into the tackle. He’s a powerful athlete and a quick man so he finished the try really well. It’s a good reminder for us that you’ve got to be 100% zoned in right to the end of the Test match.”
Taylor also played down any concerns that England would seek to rile Australia again after Swain’s red card on Jonny Hill came after the Sale-bound lock had pushed his opponent in the face and pulled his hair. “That’s where [the head coach Dave Rennie] is really good,” he said. “He’s really good at ensuring the boys stick to the task and focus on the process. If you get into that you-v-them, off-the-ball stuff you lose your processes. Teams are smart and they’ll then take you apart so we’ll make sure we’re sticking to the game and the processes.”