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Australia relishing chance to lock horns with 'aggressive' England

Published 09/06/2016

Australia coach Michael Cheika says England deserve respect if they adopt an aggressive approach in the first Test
Australia coach Michael Cheika says England deserve respect if they adopt an aggressive approach in the first Test

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has welcomed England's intent to play 'Bodyline' rugby during their upcoming series.

Anticipation over Saturday's opening Test at Suncorp Stadium has risen after Eddie Jones invoked the tactics used by Douglas Jardine's Ashes winners to explain the approach his Grand Slam champions will adopt against the Wallabies.

The squad have watched footage of the controversial series clinched by England's cricket team in 1932-33 to inspire them in their quest to make history Down Under and Cheika is braced for the onslaught promised by Jones.

"I understand the analogy, but I'm not sure what it means. I don't know if it means head high tackles or if it means aggression," Cheika said.

"If it means aggressive rugby then that's good. That's the game, it's meant to be aggressive.

"It's a contact sport and we love that. Respect to our opponents if they bring it on.

"I've got no….we're up for it….the contact part of the game, the aggression. If that's what it means. I'm sure it's going to be a real ding dong on Saturday.

"I imagine that's what it means because you're not going to come out and do head high tackles. I don't think so at least! I think fair play to them, it's good stuff."

Cheika has selected three debutants for the opening Test in lock Rory Arnold, centre Samu Kerevi and wing Dane Haylett-Petty.

Arnold, who stands 6ft 8in tall and is nicknamed 'Three Story Rory', will become the tallest ever Wallaby when he starts on Saturday, while David Pocock and Michael Hooper are present in the back row.

Pulling the strings at fly-half is Bernard Foley, England's nemesis in their record defeat to Australia at Twickenham during last autumn's World Cup.

Christian Leali'ifano has been named in the matchday 23 for the first time since 2014 after joining the squad in Brisbane on Wednesday following the birth of his son.

Australia team to play England in the first Test at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday June 11:

I Folau (Waratahs); D Haylett-Petty (Western Force), T Kuridrani (Brumbies), S Kerevi (Reds), R Horne (Waratahs); B Foley (Waratahs), N Phipps (Waratahs); S Sio (Brumbies), S Moore (Brumbies), G Holmes (Reds), R Arnold (Brumbies), R Simmons (Reds), S Fardy (Brumbies), M Hooper (Waratahs), D Pocock (Brumbies).

Replacements: T Polota-Nau (Waratahs), J Slipper (Reds), S Kepu (Waratahs), J Horwill (Harlequins), D Mumm (Waratahs) S McMahon (Rebels), N Frisby (Reds), C Leali'ifano (Brumbies).

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