Wallabies unfazed by Hartley selection
November 10, 2010
Wallabies assistant coach Jim Williams is relishing a physical exchange with England this Saturday © Getty Images
Australia forwards coach Jim Williams has dismissed the controversy surrounding England hooker Dylan Hartley's selection for their Twickenham showdown.
Hartley escaped disciplinary action after crashing into New Zealand captain Richie McCaw with a forearm challenge during England's 26-16 defeat last Saturday. The citing commissioner John West studied footage of the incident but took no action, a decision with angered McCaw who criticised the inconsistency of the system. All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu has been handed a four-week ban for a headbutt on Lewis Moody during the same game.
Hartley was rewarded for his dynamic impact off the bench with a promotion into England's starting side to face Australia and Williams has no problem with his selection. "That is up for New Zealand. It doesn't concern me too much whether he is in the team or not. They have got a very good forward pack. Both Dylan and Steve Thompson are very aggressive, they like that contact area like all good number twos. Either way it is going to be a challenge for us on the weekend. Dylan did make a big impact when he came on."
Hartley has come into an England tight-five unit that is expected to dominate the Australian scrum following their shaky performances in recent weeks against New Zealand and Wales. Australia succeeded in finding a way to win both games, as they did against England in Perth during the summer when a rookie Wallaby pack took a fearful hammering.
The Wallabies boast arguably the world's most lethal back division, with the likes of Quade Cooper, James O'Connor and Kurtley Beal capable of tearing open the tightest defences. But scrum-half Luke Burgess acknowledged they cannot solely rely on their devastating runners to win Test matches, especially at Twickenham.
"England have a unique style. They are very strong, they have a great identity with their rugby," said Burgess. "I don't think there is any reason to shy away from laws of rugby. England invented the game, they know about physicality up front and they know about going forward. You can't necessarily go around teams without going through them first. We are lucky to have some creative backs but we don't shy away from the work up front."
England and Australia shared their summer Test series 1-1 after Martin Johnson's men bounced back from a poor display in Perth to win in Sydney. But Williams does not believe either game will have a major bearing on Saturday.
"We expect to face the England from last week. They put in a good performance and they will build on that," he said. "They showed they had the ability to play tight and move the ball as well. It will be a tough task for us on the weekend."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in Pictures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year