England no.8 Billy Vunipola celebrates their Cook Cup series win, after they won the Second Test 23-7 in Melbourne. Image via Wallabies Facebook
The Roar: There’s no escaping the obvious, England’s Cook Cup sealing Second Test win over the Wallabies in Melbourne was as complete as it was clinical.
Eddie Jones brought his squad to Australia with the express intention of winning the series, and they’ve done that with a week to spare. In doing so – England’s first ever three-Test series win – they’ve climbed to no.2 in the World Rugby rankings, while the Wallabies have slipped to third.
And this might be clutching at straws – it almost certainly is, in hindsight – but it could actually be a good thing…
Melbourne Rebels flanker Sean McMahon has been entrusted to fill David Pocock’s no.8 role for the Wallabies in the 2nd Test. No, he’s not started there before… Image via Wallabies Facebook.
Rugby News (Australia): The moment last weekend David Pocock was ruled out for the rest of the Cook Cup series, the hottest question in Australian rugby has been, “who will ‘Cheik’ pick?”
With specialist No.8s Ben McCalman and Wycliff Palu in the Wallabies squad already, they loomed as the obvious replacement for Pocock at the back of the Wallabies scrum for the must-win Second Test in Melbourne. If the Wallabies were to force the series into a decider in Sydney, then surely the Australian pack needed to fight English physicality with fire.
The ‘Pooper’ experiment might have reached its use-by date, so surely it was time to go back to the tried and tested.
No, Siree, Bob. And I don’t mean Mr Dwyer.
England coach Eddie Jones has thrown down a defensive gauntlet to the Wallabies ahead of the 2nd Test in Melbourne. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: The first weekend of international rugby down this neck of the woods has resulted in two results that two countries were kind of dreading.
But if anything, the Wallabies and Springboks’ losses have really added some spice to this second weekend of Tests; try and imagine the build-up if England and Ireland were touched up last weekend.
As a result, the anticipation for the Tests in Melbourne and Johannesburg is far more pronounced, which will, in turn, be matched by the level of nervousness of the respective supporters.
It’s another big weekend of international rugby, and here are the talking points for the weekend’s fixtures.
Straight from the notepad of Captain Obvious, the Wallabies’ discipline – or lack thereof – was a massive issue throughout the match, and essentially allowed England into the game. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: It was really interesting, reading the reaction on Sunday, to the Wallabies’ 39-28 loss to England in Brisbane the night before.
In more than a few cases, babies and bathwater were flying all over the place.
A few tweaks here and there is probably warranted, but so would allowing the side who played in Brisbane the chance to redeem themselves in Melbourne this Saturday night. And having sat back and observed things for a few days, these same three aspects that stood out on Saturday night remain the obvious avenues for improvement days later.