England don’t want to have to rely on their scramble defence to bail them out of trouble again in Saturday’s second Test against Australia, recalled winger Jack Nowell says.
A week after he was surprisingly dropped to the bench for the series opener against the Wallabies, Nowell has been handed a start for the AAMI Park clash, replacing Marland Yarde out wide.
The tourists were blown away in the opening 20 minutes in Brisbane last weekend as Australia ran in two easy tries and threatened to run away with it – until England began imposing themselves on the contest, taking control of the set piece and eventually wrestling their way into the lead.
The Wallabies tried to mount a late comeback, but that too was snuffed out by a desperate England.
Nowell says they now want to take that defensive spirit to the next level.
“Our scramble D was pretty awesome at the weekend, but obviously we don’t want it to get that far,” said Nowell, who revealed he was battling a minor thumb injury that limited his involvement in the first Test.
“This week we’ve spoken a lot about being desperate again, doing anything to get the win, being a bit brutal when we’re out there.
“We want to be physical like we were last week, but obviously tighten up our D a bit as well.”
Asked if there was enough time to plug the holes in England’s line that the Wallabies were able to exploit, coach Eddie Jones said: “100 per cent. I’ll quote Bob Dwyer – he always says you can fix a team in one week, and you can.”
Indeed, Jones believes the inclusion of the hard-tackling Nowell will help to that end, given the Wallabies are likely to whip the ball out wide whenever possible on Saturday night.
“I don’t think there’s any secret about how Australia are going to play and I think to have a high workrate winger like Jack Nowell this week’s going to be an advantage for us,” Jones said.