Wallabies won't be following Wales-England approach

Beth Newman Profile
by AFP & Beth Newman

Wales and England packed down together on Monday, but Wallabies prop Scott Sio says there won’t be any Southern Hemisphere version of the unusual initiative.

The UK rivals held a scrummaging session in Bristol, supervised by Welsh referee Nigel Owens, on Monday morning, something Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards said was about the ‘greater good’ of Northern Hemisphere rugby.

“I think it’s fantastic – just the spirit of rugby, isn’t it?,” he said.

“You can put your hats on one side and go out and do it for the greater good, which is Northern Hemisphere rugby really.”

The 2019 Rugby World Cup fixture. Photo: World RugbySio didn’t hesitate when asked whether a similar session might be investigated south of the equator, with the All Blacks.

“We 'd learn a lot but I don't think Cheik (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) would allow it even if we weren’t playing them that weekend,” he said.

“You know they've had a really strong system here (in the Northern Hemisphere) for a while now and it's just them trying something new to see if it can improve their game,

“They are very set piece focussed team and we know we are in for a battle.”

The Wales-England move is unprecedented between Tier One nations at least, and though it was out of the ordinary, the teams were able to put their rivalry for the session.

England lock George Kruis said there was tension between the two packs, but they managed to keep a lid on their usual matchday emotions.

“There was definitely intent there," he said.

"I'd say we were professional enough to control ourselves and understand it was a training tool rather than a smash-up on the Monday of a Test week."

"We went in there trying to get a squeeze on and as much out of it as we could. We wanted to win every scrum and wanted the intent, but it also gave ourselves the opportunity to trial a few things and see where we're at.

"It was under Test match intensity, but was a good tool for us. It definitely lets us know where we're at as a pack and has shown us things that maybe we need to work on for this week."

Video posted on Twitter after the session of one particularly dominant England effort, but Wales backrower Taulupe Faletau said things were relatively even.

“It was good preparation for both sides leading up to the game on the weekend,” he said.

“It was an equal balance there. We had some good ones, they had good ones.”

Wales are hoping the move will help warm them up for the Wallabies, with the Welsh winless in their opening end-of-year Tests since 2002 against Romania.

 “There’s an extra edge (in these sessions) because you’re going up against a national side and players are not used to training with the quality they’ve got,” Faletau said.

“It’s about making sure we’re on point and we got out of the session what we wanted to.

“The quality of today is only going to help us come this weekend.”

The Wallabies take on Wales on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 5:15pm local, Sunday 4:15am AEDT, LIVE on BeIn Sports and SBS.