In a sign of the changing mentality within the Wallabies, Angus Bell says he was left “unhappy” by their set-piece performance in Perth and wants to “dominate” his English counterparts up front in Brisbane on Saturday.
Bell’s comments came as lock Darcy Swain copped a two-week ban, thereby ruling him out of the remainder of the series, for his red card headbutt on Jonny Hill.
Swain’s suspension was reduced from six weeks down to two, after the World Rugby judicial panel factored in his clean record, remorse and conduct during his hearing, as well as the lack of force in the head butt.
His absence in the second-row means the Wallabies will be before to name at least three changes to their starting side, including at fullback after Tom Banks’ broken arm and at tight-head prop following Allan Alaalatoa’s head knock.
After eight consecutive defeats to England leading into last weekend, Eddie Jones’ pack were licking their lips at the prospect of facing the Wallabies.
New captain Courtney Lawes said his English side were “confident” going into their clash and he had every reason to be given their recent dominance.
But their spell over the Wallabies came to an abrupt end in Perth, as Lawes’ side failed to put away their opponents who were reduced to 14 men after Darcy Swain’s red card.
Instead, the Wallabies ran in three tries in less than 20 minutes to pull away from England and secure a vital win.
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Two of those tries were scored from forwards, as Folau Fainga’a crossed after breaking away from a rolling maul and Pete Samu showed off his footwork to score.
Bell, however, was left far from content despite the replacement front-row earning a huge scrum win near their own goal line late in the match.
“I was pretty unhappy with our set-piece,” he said. “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 in areas and through certain things like the red card didn’t obviously help, and we had players in different positions.
“But now we’re going to bring another step up in intensity of the set-piece and we need to be better.”
Although the Wallabies will be without Alaalatoa and Swain too, the return of Taniela Tupou is a major boost.
“Taniela is a beast,” Bell said of his front-row partner.
“He’s one of the world’s best.
“In every single facet of the game to do with front rowers and forwards, Taniela has a massive impact on.
“If he does get picked he’ll do a job just like our other tight-heads. We’ve got world class tight-heads everywhere – the job doesn’t change.”
Tupou has missed the past two months of action because of a calf injury.
The birth of his first child should ensure he is named on Thursday for his return.
His return comes at just the right time, with Alaalatoa sitting out after his head knock last week.
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Whether Tupou starts or not remains to be seen, with Wallabies officials eager not to rush the world class prop back before he is ready.
Fortunately Dave Rennie can rely on James Slipper, who once again showed how valuable he is after coming on after 25 minutes in his non-preferred position at tight-head.
Matt Philip is likely to come into the starting side for Swain while Nick Frost or Jed Holloway, should he prove his fitness, could debut off the bench.
In other team news, Quade Cooper is unlikely to play any part in the series following his calf injury.
Tom Wright is pressing hard for the vacant bench spot, with Jordan Petaia set to start on the right-wing following Tom Banks’ broken arm.
Meanwhile, Reece Hodge has also joined the squad following Banks’ injury.