Wallabies coach Dave Rennie admits he is worried about firebrand lock Darcy Swain getting a “reputation” for foul play following his return to the Test team against Italy.
Swain was named on Australia’s bench for Sunday’s (12am AEDT kickoff) Test in Florence after serving a six game suspension for a reckless cleanout of All Blacks midfielder Quinn Tupaea in an ugly ruck incident in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Melbourne.
Tupaea was ruled out of rugby for nine months as scans revealed extensive damage to his ACL and he faces a race for fitness and form before the Rugby World Cup next year.
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England pest sets trap for Swain
It was Swain’s second ban of the season after he was sent off and copped a further two game sentence for his headbutt of England rival Jonny Hill in Perth.
“We’ve certainly sat down with Darcy post the last suspension,” Rennie said.
“What we don’t want is him getting a reputation,” Rennie said.
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“His first suspension was provoked. I think if the officials had done a better job when he got punched in the face and then his hair pulled and elbowed, maybe he wouldn’t have retaliated. Anyway, he did, and he’s got to wear that.
“He’s learned from that and the last one was clumsy. It’s not malicious. He’s trying to be physical but he was pretty inaccurate. And you know, unfortunately, he got suspended and Quinn Tupaea got a long-term injury which Darcy really regrets.”
Discipline has been a problem for the Wallabies in general this season.
“We’ve certainly sat down, talked about the importance of discipline,” Rennie said.
“I think as a group, we’ve made good shifts, gave away 11 penalties on the weekend (in the loss to France in Paris). I think we’ve given away one offside penalty in the last two games which is better.
“Darcy’s well aware we still want him to be physical, but he’s got to be accurate.”
“We haven’t looked at it as a make or break but there’s no doubt if he makes some poor decisions and gets suspended again you get to a stage where it’s difficult to pick some of those sorts of guys because you end up playing a lot of rugby with 14.
“He’s a really good man. I think he’s learned from this and we expect to see that on the park on Saturday (local time).”
WALLABIES (15-1): Jock Campbell, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Tom Wright, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon, Pete Samu, Fraser McReight, Ned Hanigan, Will Skelton, Nick Frost, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Folau Fainga’a, Matt Gibbon
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Langi Gleeson, Tate McDermott, Ben Donaldson, Jordan Petaia
ITALY (15-1): Ange Capuozzo, Pierre Bruno, Juan Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Montanna Ioane, Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (c), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Niccolo Cannone, Simone Ferrari, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Danilo Fisichetti
Reserves: Giacomo Nicotera, Ivan Nemer, Pietro Ceccarelli, David Sisi, Toa Halafihi, Alessandro Garbisi, Tommaso Allan, Tommaso Menoncello
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