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Australia v England talking points

England enter their second Test against Australia knowing victory would complete a maiden series victory against one of the southern hemisphere giants.

Here Press Association Sport examines five talking points heading into the Melbourne showdown.


Michael Cheika is unconcerned by the level of physicality shown by England at Suncorp Stadium, but has admitted that Australia must handle the "niggle" better. Shoves, shoulders and elbows during beaks in play were among the tools used by Eddie Jones' tourists to unsettle the Wallabies. Cheika has devised a plan to deal with any provocation, the details of which he has kept to himself.


Dylan Hartley will become England's most capped hooker when he runs out at AAMI Park on Saturday, making his 74th appearance to surpass the record held by World Cup winner Steve Thompson. It has been a perfect start to Hartley's captaincy with seven wins from seven outings since Jones took over, yielding a Grand Slam and a tantalising glimpse of a history-making achievement Down Under.


Once more referee Craig Joubert is the centre of attention for an England game. Jones stated before the RBS 6 Nations victory over Wales that Warren Gatland's men scrummaged "terribly illegally" and this time it is former Australia coach Bob Dwyer who has highlighted dubious play, claiming prop Dan Cole's technique is illegal. Both coaches have rushed to praise the South African official, who is at the centre of the set-piece phoney way.


A unknown heading into the second Test is how the AMMI Park pitch will hold up. Work has been done to improve the surface, which has cut up badly during the Rebels' Super Rugby season. Scrummaging is the main concern, but Jones is unworried, stating it is the same for both teams.


England have reunited the 10-12 axis that served them so well in the march to the Grand Slam after recalling George Ford at fly-half and moving Owen Farrell to inside centre to take the place of Luther Burrell, who struggled defensively in Brisbane. With two playmakers operating in tandem, the tourists have greater control, an extra kicking option and an enhanced ability to create and exploit opportunities.

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