Wallabies v England: Expect an explosive match tonight
EXPECT fireworks in the first scrum between Australia and England at Suncorp Stadium tonight - because the Poms certainly are.
England's apparent decades-old scrummaging superiority over the Wallabies went to ashes in the World Cup last year, with many observing "the death of the English scrum" like its cricket team after famously losing to Australia in 1882.
The men in gold trounced the Old Enemy up front that night on the way to a 33-13 humbling at Twickenham.
But England coach and former Wallaby mentor Eddie Jones has said his team would play a "Bodyline" style of confrontational rugby starting in the first of three Tests Down Under, in Brisbane tonight.
Jones, a big cricket fan, is salivating at the looming physical battle in the forwards.
England's new scrum coach Neal Hatley has bought into the hype, as Jones desperately attempts to change England's battered image.
"We're always expecting fireworks in the scrums," he said.
"(Bodyline is) a tough uncompromising approach - it is changing how the England side has played in the past ... and presenting a different picture."
No doubt the Aussies will attempt to bait England skipper and hooker Dylan Hartley, who missed last year's World Cup and has served an astonishing 54 weeks suspended for six separate incidents.
"I'm sure they'll probably niggle everybody. We don't have a problem with that," Hatley said.
"He (Hartley) is the captain of the side and he'll lead it."
But Hatley acknowledged the importance of his troops keeping cool heads in the engine room and not giving away silly penalties.
"That's massively important every Test match. Games are decided by one, two or three points," he said.
"Discipline is going to be paramount."
The physical battle will also be fierce in the backline, and Wallaby debutant Samu Kerevi will bring an uncompromising style at inside centre.
"He's a handful and he's had a good year in Super Rugby," Wallabies captain and Hartley's opposite Stephen Moore said of the Reds star.
"This will be a step up but he's shown that he's got the skills and the mentality to take the next step."
The Wallabies will back themselves to trump the visitors in the line-out as well as the scrum, with Moore's Brumbies teammate Rory Arnold to also make his Test debut in the second row.
Arnold will become the tallest Wallaby ever at 208cm.
"He's a tall guy and he's had a good season. I'm very happy for him to get his opportunity," Moore said.
"He's worked hard for it and I'm confident he'll do well."
Moore gave nothing away when asked about his contest with Hartley.
"He's a good competitor - he's led that team well throughout the Six Nations, and he's going to want to lead the team well on this tour," he said.
"It's going to be a good contest and I'm always looking forward to playing a tough England forward pack."
England has not beaten Australia in Brisbane since 1975, and almost 50,000 fans are expected at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
- JOSH SPASARO