The Wallabies had to start from scratch in 2016, but it’s a season flyhalf Bernard Foley says will set them up for life.
Foley admitted the team felt they could pick things up where they left off when they came together in 2016, a three-nil series loss to England a quick indication that things wouldn’t be quite that simple.
“This side’s had a challenging year, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of new combinations and there was probably a bit of a mental hangover from last year.
“When we got together we thought it would click as easy as it did, but it didn’t. We had to start again.
“The resilience shown by this side is going to be very beneficial for years to come. - Bernard Foley
“Coming to a head this weekend, it’s going to be very important to finish off well, we don’t play another Test for seven months, you’re only as good as your last performance.
“So that’s a lot of motivation for us to go out there and play our best Test of the year.”
The Wallabies will come up against England’s dual playmaking structure of George Ford and Owen Farrell once again on Saturday, a setup Foley said made defence a different proposition.
“It asks a few more questions of the defence, they’ve definitely done that, they’ve played quite an expansive game on the back of setting a good platform up front,” he said.
“Their willingness and ability to score tries from long range has been something they’ve really benefitted from this year.
“You probably put that down to having a couple of ball-players in that 10 and 12 position.”
Foley said the onus was on he and inside centre Reece Hodge to try and put their own stamp on that combination, avoiding being pulled into the physical fray.
“We probably got lulled into carrying the ball too much [in June], or getting caught at breakdowns, getting caught at rucks,” he said.
“You want to have your 10 and 12 ball playing rather than having to go to rucks or making tackles, or even caught in those physicality areas, I’ll leave that up to the big guys.
“For me, England came in with a good plan and they executed that well.” - Bernard Foley
Foley had plenty of praise for his opposite number, Ford, who has taken ownership of the England 10 jersey this season, building that combination with Farrell.
“George is a good tradesman at 10, he’s able to run the game,” he said.
“What he’s done for Eddie and under this new England team is direct the team around and that’s exactly what you want from your flyhalf.
“He runs well, he kicks well and he passes well, so I think he’s a good tradesman and he’s steering that team around well.”
Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Sunday, kicking off at 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and bein Sport 3 (Foxtel channel 515).