Party-pooping not on Wallabies' agenda

Nick Phipps of Australia looks for a gap against Wales.
Nick Phipps of Australia looks for a gap against Wales. Stu Forster

RUGBY UNION: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says his team is trying to begin its own legacy and not spoil England's as the two teams go head to head at Twickenham tomorrow morning (AEST).

Under coach Eddie Jones, the home side has not lost in 13 games and, against its old rival, will look to equal a national record.

England has never gone an entire year without defeat but rather than going in to play party-poopers, Cheika said his players were hoping to have something of their own to celebrate.

"We're not into rugby to try and spoil someone else's party, we're trying to have our own,” he said.

"I think they played fantastic this year, they smashed it and they've done really well.

"Fourteen games it will be if they win this game, so I think they've done very, very well.

"I also feel that we've improved. We're in totally different cycles - we're in a full transition right now with 13 debutants and just such big changes in our squad.

"We know we've taken a bit of pain this year but we know in the long run that pain will help us.”

When England defeated the Wallabies in the three-match series on Australian soil in June, Billy Vunipola was one of the key men at the back of the scrum and at the breakdown.

He will be missing with a knee injury tomorrow, but England has gone for another giant in Nathan Hughes, with Cheika deciding to counter with the size and power of Lopeti Timani.

"He (Lopeti) will give us a lot of punch and strength in attack and defence - that extra weight he's got, his ball carrying and strong defence,” Cheika said.

"It's going to be a very physical game and he's fresh now after a couple of weeks off and ready to go.

"I think we'll need that extra grunt in there for this game.”

Kane Douglas starts in the second row alongside Rob Simmons.

Nick Phipps comes back in to the side with Will Genia not released by his French club side Stade Francais.

That means Phipps and Bernard Foley will pair up as they did in June, when Phipps was targeted by England.

Cheika was confident this time around the half could handle whatever was thrown at him.

"I think he'll be fine,” he said.

"He played well in the Welsh game. I thought he's always done a good job for us.

"You say he was targeted in June but I think you can target a halfback if he's not getting the platform he needs.

"Our forwards are very clear that that can't happen. We need a platform and if Nick Phipps is targeted it's because of the forwards and not Nick Phipps.

"They go hand in hand and I'm going to be pointing the finger at him for that.”

Australia: 15 Israel Folau; 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu; 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps; 1 Scott Sio, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 3 Sekope Kepu; 4 Kane Douglas, 5 Rob Simmons; 6 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Lopeti Timani. Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Henry Speight.

Topics:  england rugby union michael cheika nick phipps spring tour wallabies

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