Rugby World Cup: Wallabies wary of England tricks

Australia's coach approaches referees' chief about underhand tactics

Australia expect England to hit them with "rough" tactics in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final in Marseille. The Wallabies' head coach John Connolly revealed today he met with the International Rugby Board's referees' chief Paddy O'Brien and raised specific concerns about the hooker Mark Regan.

Connolly fears England will try to unsettle the Wallabies and urged referee Alain Rolland to clamp down on anything underhand. "England picking Regan at hooker delivers an intent," said Connolly. "We've spoken to Paddy O'Brien to ensure he behaves himself, just to ensure the game's fair and clean."

The Springboks coach Jake White recently accused Regan of not throwing straight down the middle of the lineout and of stepping into the field of play. That is understood to have been one of the topics raised by Connolly. Regan was admonished in August by Rolland for overstepping the mark as he celebrated an England penalty during their defeat to France in Marseille.

Australia's forwards coach Michael Foley is concerned his players do not react to any chat or dirty tactics from the England forwards and concede penalties as a result. The replacement lock Hugh McMeniman said: "Foley has coached some of the boys and he says they [England] are pretty rough.

"You can expect anything from the English really, definitely off-the-ball stuff and anything if you are lying on the ground; a bit of a scratch on the eye, but all the boys have coped with that before. It's not going to have any effect on us."

Australia's No8 Wycliff Palu stressed the need for discipline, even if England are looking for a rise. "There'll be plenty of niggle. The team that controls their discipline will get over the top," he said. "If you give away a silly penalty, especially with Jonny Wilkinson playing, you give away three points."

Staff and agencies

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