The Wallabies halves can’t let themselves fall into England’s trap on Saturday, flyhalf Bernard Foley says.
Foley and halfback Nick Phipps were targeted by England in June, with the visitors taking the pair out of the contest at the ruck and have said they’ll be trying to heap the pressure on the pair once again.
Any last-ditch attempt by the Wallabies to negotiate a release for Will Genia seems unlikely, with Phipps the probable choice to move into the starting half, returning the Wallabies to their June pairing.
Foley said the duo would be more prepared for the English challenge this time around, needing to be ‘smarter’ in their attack.
“I think it’s just being smart in how we engage in the play and we just pick and choose our times,” he said.
“In the June Series, they came with a pretty simple but executed well plan and did a really good job for them.
“So, for us it’s just managing the game as best we can and allowing us to probably be more accurate especially at the breakdown and in our starters so that we’re probably not as involved or not falling into the trap of getting targeted by them.”
Foley said it was those small adjustments that needed to be made to conquer England.
“[I learned in June] that Test footy’s a matter of margin,” he said.
“In a lot of those games we weren’t that far off, or the attack was alright and then we were sloppy in defence or our discipline and that hurt us.- Bernard Foley
“For me, it’s just getting everyone up to the level of knowing their roles and playing the style that we want to play and just sticking to that, not compromising and that’s probably where we got hurt in June.”
The Wallabies have played 11 Tests since that June series, blooding eight more players since then, taking their 2016 tally up to 13 overall.
Foley said he felt the side had grown since the 3-nil loss to England in the mid-year Tests, in a season that has handed many a steep learning curve.
“I think matured’s probably the best word,” he said.
“A lot of the guys who were on debut or in Test footy for their first setup back in June, I think just that experience and just as a squad being able to gel build combinations, even just spend time together has been massive for us.
“And this year’s been very character building for this side and I think that’s probably shown and I think a lot of guys will walk away from this year having learned a lot and be a lot better in the future from it.”
Foley said the Wallabies had a more immediate lesson to learn from last weekend’s 27-24 loss to Ireland.
"When this side’s playing good footy, we match it with anyone in the world and that’s what we’re trying to do," - Bernard Foley
"We’re trying to be consistent, be able to do that for the full 80 minutes rather than just one half of footy because that’s not enough at this level."
The Wallabies will be able to call on forward Dean Mumm for their clash against England, after the 32-year-old was cleared of a lifting tackle charge by the World Rugby disciplinary committee.
Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Sunday at 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIn Sport 3 (Foxtel Channel 515).