Morgan Turinui doesn’t expect Eddie Jones’ England to reinvent the rugby wheel or overdo the subtlety against the Wallabies at Twickenham on Sunday (4.30am AEDT).
“He’s just going to bring war up front and then they’re going to try to counterpunch,” Turinui said on Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.
“They won’t be afraid to kick and maul and scrummage and double shove in scrummage and keep the ball in the scrum for 20 seconds, just to make it a war of attrition. And then when they can put speed on the ball they have really good firepower out wide.”
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England will start warm favourites at their Twickenham fortress.
They have won seven straight Tests against Australia although all of Eddie Jones’ victories came over former Randwick clubmate Michael Cheika.
This will be Dave Rennie’s first crack at the men in white but he has been badly hurt by head knocks to tighthead pillars Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa.
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James Slipper, usually a loosehead, will start in the No.3 jersey while Ollie Hoskins is in line for a shock debut off the bench.
England also had a setback up front with loosehead Joe Marler ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19.
But Kyle Sinckler and Ellis Genge will still fancy their chances of doing some damage to the Wallabies scrum.
“They are dangerous, they’ll be confident, Eddie will have them ready and raring to go,” Turinui said.
“This is a big, big game for the Wallabies to see if it’s been a little bit of a false dawn or they can validate the great performances thus far.
“England want to win, it doesn’t matter how they do it and the best way for them to win is to take Australia on up front and just make sure that everything they do is front foot, whether it’s kick front foot, carry front foot, pressure, three point penalties.
“Yes, it might open up in the last 15 if someone has to chase the game but I can’t see an open, free flowing, chaotic game suiting England, especially early doors.”
Jones has predictably been front and centre throughout the buildup to the big match.
First he drew widespread criticism for a clumsy comparison between his young prodigy Marcus Smith and England’s tennis ace Emma Raducanu.
And then he indulged in some more media mind games by referencing Australia’s supposed inferiority complex and colonial past.
“I think England will bring it massively for this game,” All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens said on Between Two Posts.
“I think it’s a personal one for Eddie, it’s Eddie week. He loves things like that… he’ll be fired up. They might have half an eye on South Africa given it’s a rematch, an opportunity for them from the 2019 World Cup final and they want to give a better showing there but I think they’ll want to get out and beat up the colonials this weekend.”
Turinui had hoped that big lock Will Skelton would start but Rennie has stuck with the combination of Rory Arnold and Izack Rodda.
Mehrtens had called for Izaia Perese to make the run-on side but he too will have to settle for an impact role.
“I don’t think (Len) Ikitau or (Hunter) Paisami have been bad but I just think he’s a bit more of an assertive guy,” Mehrtens said.
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“With limited time against Scotland, how many times he got his hands on the ball and he always delivers, he needs multiple defenders to bring him down. He stays on his feet, he gets the go forward – I’d love to see him given a starting opportunity.”
Turinui also called for some patience with five-eighth James O’Connor.
“People have been critical of O’Connor’s performance but first game back, first start in the gold 10 jersey this year,” Turinui said.