Wallabies set piece will be stronger: TPN

The Wallabies have shrugged off England coach Eddie Jones’ criticism of their line-out but Tatafu Polota-Nau has promised they will be much better in that department for the second Test in Melbourne.

Jones attempted to heap the pressure on the Wallabies and in particular, Stephen Moore, in the wake of the 39-28 series opening loss in Brisbane, saying the Australian skipper would be “worried” about the team’s line-out performance.

“He can throw some criticism. We stuck to our drill, obviously there were times it didn’t work but that’s rugby. It’s always there to be a contest,” Polota-Nau told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“I thought both teams were opposing well for each other’s ball.

“I thought we were good, but we weren’t great.

“Coming into the preparation this week it will be more about how we can do our job to the best of our ability because at the end of the day, we need to let our backs fire and it all starts with the set piece.”

England also had the better of the scrum battle, with Wallabies loosehead Scott Sio yellow-carded in the second half of the opening Test due to repeated infringements.

But Polota-Nau said he had taken no notice of criticism from former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns that English prop Dan Cole had illegally angled in at scrum-time.

“We’re too busy getting our heads in there. The referees control that,” he said.

“We can only make sure we don’t include him into the equation. It’s more so how we can be more consistent in that area.”

Meanwhile, Brumbies utility Matt Toomua has recovered from knee surgery and has joined the Australian squad, amid speculation he could come into the starting side to replace Samu Kerevi at No.12.

However, another possible contender for that position, Christian Lealiifano, said he thought Australia’s new big-bodied centres set-up was worth persisting with.

“I thought they went really, really well.

“It was difficult with the limited ball they had, but I thought Samu and Tevita (Kuridrani) were very dangerous when they had the ball and the opportunity to run,” said Lealiifano, who only linked up with his teammates late last week after the birth of his son, and came off the bench in Saturday’s match.

“We know the quality of player they are. With a bit more ball hopefully they can do a bit more damage.”

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