Australia: Wallabies insist they ‘won’t be baited’ by England in deciding Test

Colin Newboult

Jonny Hill of England and Darcy Swain of the Wallabies scuffle during the first Test match of the International Rugby Test series between Australia and England at Optus Stadium in Perth, Saturday, July 2, 2022. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY ** STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, NO BOOKS **

Australia’s Nic White and Dan McKellar say that they will keep their emotions in check if England attempt to antagonise them once again.

The hosts have already succumbed to the tourists’ tactics in this series, with Darcy Swain receiving a red card following severe provocation by Jonny Hill.

England prop Ellis Genge then looked to wind up White when he leant on the 32-year-old with his elbow in the early stages of last weekend’s game.

A fair bit of niggle

Not that it particularly bothered the scrum-half, who said: “Leaning on me with an elbow is a nice way to put it. Ellis has that in his game.

“He is a good man, a great player and a real talisman for England. I knew if he got a chance to get his hands on me he would have a crack at me.

“We won’t be baited into that off-the-ball stuff. We will leave that to those boys. We know there will be a fair bit of niggle.”

Forwards coach McKellar echoed White’s opinion, stating that players have to be wary of how they react when the opposition is taunting them.

“It’s pretty pointless these days isn’t it? You go rushing in and you’re third man in and you’re on the receiving end of a yellow card,” McKellar said.

“It all comes down to emotional control and making sure you’re not getting sucked into those sort of tactics.

“The officials will be world-class on Saturday and it’s their job to look after (it).

“It’s not something we plan or put tactics to in this environment. We have much more important things to worry about that’ll go a fair way towards deciding a Test match than a little niggle.”

Injury issues

England’s antics are the least of Australia’s worries, with the hosts’ already lengthy injury list increasing following Saturday’s match.

It will be, to an extent, a patched-up Wallabies side this weekend, but McKellar believes that the threat of Covid – where team changes can happen at any minute – has helped prepare them for situations like this.

“I think what makes it seamless is the preparation we’ve done over the past 3-4 weeks and understanding whoever’s playing will be involved heavily in preparation over that period of time,” he added.

“You can’t be throwing your eggs in one basket thinking they’ll get through a series. The game’s played at an incredibly high intensity these days, very physical, and sadly we’ve seen a far few injuries.

“We’ve been unlucky in that area and every now and again you get clusters in a position, you just have to make sure your whole squad is prepared and ready to step up if required.”

READ MORE: England: Fatigue will not be a concern in decisive third Test


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Australia v England preview

Planet Rugby previews the series deciding third Test between Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground.