The Wallabies’ downfall started with a 3-0 whitewash on house soil by England in 2016 – and it’ll take victory towards Eddie Jones’s aspect at Twickenham this weekend to present Australia are really on the highway to restoration.
The Wallabies returned from the 2015 World Cup on a excessive after reaching the ultimate towards the All Blacks, however England shortly introduced them again down to earth. All of it went downhill from there.
Falling to seventh on this planet, their lowest ever rating, the Wallabies had been knocked out of the 2019 World Cup by England within the quarter-final, which resulted within the sacking of Michael Cheika, who misplaced all seven of the Checks he coached towards Jones, his outdated Randwick teammate.
Underneath new coach Dave Rennie, the Wallabies confirmed indicators of a turnaround when they beat world champions South Africa and Argentina within the Rugby Championship throughout a five-Check successful streak, however their momentum was interrupted by the final weekend’s 15-13 loss to Scotland.
The Wallabies now have to beat England to show their loss at Murrayfield was a blip and that they haven’t suffered a relapse.
The present England aspect aren’t precisely on hearth for the time being, successful solely two video games on this 12 months’s Six Nations, ending fifth, forward of solely Italy, however house floor benefit will probably be necessary with England successful six at their final eight Checks towards the Wallabies at Twickenham.
There are lots of new faces in England’s squad, however that is one Check Jones will probably be decided to win. Anybody who attended the previous Wallabies coach’s tearful media convention in Sydney following his sacking in 2005 will realise simply how a lot the job meant to him.
Jones was sacked after the Wallabies misplaced eight of his final 9 Checks in cost. One of these defeats was a 26-16 loss to England at Twickenham, which noticed the demolition of the Australian scrum.
If the Wallabies’ poor scrummaging towards Scotland was any indication, they could possibly be going through an analogous destiny on Sunday following the loss of tight-head props Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou with concussion.
Veteran prop James Slipper has performed tight-head within the past, however he has a robust desire for loose-head, whereas Angus Bell remains to be a rookie. Former Western Pressure prop Ollie Hoskins was known as up from London Irish to make an sudden Check debut off the bench.
The Wallabies’ set-pieces should be stable or England will accumulate factors by way of penalty objectives and achieve subject place to launch their assault. Not solely that, if the Australian set-pieces collapse, the remainder of their recreation will endure.
France-based second-rower Rory Arnold stabilised a shaky Wallabies lineout towards Scotland, however he’ll compete towards three real leaping choices within the English line.
The Wallabies can anticipate England to hit them onerous on the breakdown. Jones will know that Rennie locations lots of emphasis on this side of the sport and, little question, will attempt to beat him to the punch, so to communicate.
Wallabies assault coach Scott Wisemantel, who has labored for Jones with each side, is hip to all of his former mentor’s methods, however he has his personal issues getting the backline firing with out Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete, who’ve stated sayonara to Australia in the meanwhile, not less than.
The Wallabies’ assault lacked fluidity towards Scotland. There’s a lot of uncooked expertise within the backline, however they want to maintain it easy, know when to take the deal with and recycle the ball somewhat than making an attempt to drive a flick cross.
The choice of France-based Kurtley Beale at fullback will present the Wallabies’ assault with extra selection and return Andrew Kellaway to the wing the place he was so efficient within the Rugby Championship.
In the end, it was the Wallabies’ ill-discipline and lack of composure that value them towards Scotland and that has to be addressed. Critics might argue French referee Romain Poite was pedantic, handing out some extremely technical penalties towards Australia, but when that’s the means the foundations are being interpreted, a team has to adapt.
Whereas the Wallabies solely performed properly in patches towards Scotland, they may have led 24-7 at half-time somewhat than trailing 7-3 if they had been extra affected person and correct, which is what they will want to be towards England.
To beat the English at Twickenham, a team has to have the option to transfer their massive ahead pack across the subject. With out Cooper, the Wallabies have struggled to execute Rennie’s kicking technique.
But it surely is perhaps value remembering that in 2012, with Beale at five-eighth, the Wallabies executed a kicking game-plan that resulted in a 20-14 win towards England, their final success at Twickenham exterior the 2015 World Cup.
With only one extra Check remaining – towards Six Nations champions Wales on Sunday week – a loss to England will see the Wallabies’ tour deemed a failure, however a win will put Australia ready to have a profitable marketing campaign.
In some ways the Wallabies are a team making an attempt to escape the past. If they need to put the past behind them, they should bury the ghosts of England.