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Australia coach Michael Cheika has a plan to deal with confrontational England

Published 15/06/2016

Michael Cheika's Australia side were beaten by England
Michael Cheika's Australia side were beaten by England

Australia coach Michael Cheika insists a plan has been devised to deal with a provocative England team intent on antagonising opponents.

A feature of the tourists' 39-28 victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane last weekend was their confrontational manner, a characteristic that new head coach Eddie Jones has been keen to develop.

The rivals lock horns once more at AAMI Park on Saturday with Jones stating that Australia will be concerned by the level of physicality England brought to bear in the first Test.

Cheika, however, highlights the elbows and shoves that were seen regularly from the Grand Slam winners when play stopped as the real area of concern.

"I'm not concerned about physicality, but we've probably got to deal with the niggle a bit better. There was a lot of niggle off the ball in Brisbane," Cheika said.

"That's not physicality, that's something else. Niggle's the stuff you do off the ball, the opposition are protected because you can't do anything.

"If someone pulls you down, you can't whack a bloke because you know you're going to get caught. So, I'm not doing niggle. That's not our go. We've got to play more physically, but I'm not concerned about that.

"We've just got to improve the level we showed last week because obviously last week's level was not enough. That's pretty clear by the scoreline..

"This week's level has to be higher, but I'm not getting into the niggle game because that's not our go. It's not what Aussies do.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm not against it. If that's your strategy then that's your strategy, good on them.

"It's not our go but to improve our physicality is something I'd look to do even if we hadn't won.

"We have our idea of how to deal with the niggle but this is not our place to talk about it."

To date the series has been characterised by Jones' willingness to engage in mind games while Cheika, his former Randwick team-mate, has taken a diplomatic line.

"A lot of people have said that we've been quiet. You talk about sledging for example, I'll sledge you if I'm going to be able to go on the field and back it up," he added.

"Not then going sledging and then stay off the field and say 'ah sweet, right up boys, now go and back it up'. That's why, that's why I don't want to do that. You have to go back it up.

"For me it's short-term motivation. There will be some things said about us from the sidelines, but we want to build some substance so that we're a consistent team for the long haul, not just get by on this week and hope for the next thing.

"That's what we're about. I want to be bulletproof to that stuff, build from within and not have to put this thing or that thing on the wall to help us."

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